Pink Milk is a mixed-up bag of actors, diverse in age, gender, and ethnicity. While some characters’ personalities shine through, others are grimacing weak. It would be a strange and rewarding combination of surreal and historical concepts, pretty high-level material if the whole thing didn’t resemble an ambitious high-school play.
The story is that of Alan Turing, a British scientist credited by some as making the single “largest contribution” to defeating Nazi Germany and was chemically castrated for the crime of homosexuality. In Pink Milk, we watch Turing grow from a tender and misunderstood child to a tender, misunderstood adult who is eventually forced to use his talents for a harsh society that ultimately destroys him.
The theater itself is small (understatement). It’s a four-sided stage surrounded by the audience. This leaves the viewer with a less-than-easy feeling as everyone settles in. It takes a while for this feeling to dissipate, but it does. Although it isn’t a musical, some dancing manages to impress. In such a small space, the fact that they can pull us into this strange little Alan Turing world is surprising, but the movement and blocking are intriguing enough to prompt the viewer to focus on the slightest of motions. They also successfully showcase the emotion and overall feel of the scenes. For this, I pat Pink Milk on the back.
Although Alan Turing lived during WWII, Pink Milk has a distinct sci-fi feel. Things like dangling metallic jewelry and Turing’s inventions give the viewer a sense that this is perhaps the not-so-distant future. One of the best examples would be Turing’s contribution to breaking code. In the play, it’s simplified and magnified through the use of humanoid robots (all played by the same actor) that inexplicably helps win the war. Though it’s based on a natural person, this play is not overly concerned with portraying real life but more focused on giving us a basic sense of what Turing’s life might have been like. With disjointed scenes and such a heavy emphasis on his need to be aggressive for the sake of the war, I can only assume that Alan Turing’s life was a Hot Topic-themed Wonderland without Tim Burton. I suppose this weird obsession with apples is relevant because the real Alan Turing may or may not have eaten a poisoned apple before his death and also allegedly liked Snow White. Additionally, many actors play multiple characters but aren’t that good at being more than one person convincingly, so the acting takes a pretty substantial hit there, even though some of them are skilled. Overall it just isn’t decisive or strong enough.
Performance Dates & Times
Friday, October 3rd- Saturday, November 1st. Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays
Doors open at 7:30p.m. It shows at 8 p.m.
The Garage Theatre
251 E. 7th Street
Long Beach, CA 90813
Metered street parking is available on 7th street and LB Blvd.
Open street parking is available on Palmer Ct and Locust St, west of LB Blvd.
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