Milly Monka’s MILK Factory - Reviewed by Madelaine Empson | Regional News Connecting Wellington

Photo by Rebekah de Roo

Milly Monka’s MILK Factory

Presented by: Ruff as Gutz

Created by: Sean Burnett Dugdale-Martin

Directed by: Sean Burnett Dugdale-Martin

BATS Theatre, 3rd Apr 2024

Reviewed by: Madelaine Empson

If you’ve never seen a MILK show before, firstly, why, and secondly, the premise is this. A cast of improvisors make up a story on the fly (standard) whilst being pelted by water balloons (not standard). Prior to the show, we the audience are armed with the squishy, sopping projectiles and instructed to throw them at performers whenever we want something they’re doing or saying to change. Got milk? Hidden amongst the regular water balloons are a few drama balloons filled with milk. When one is tossed onstage, a catastrophic event occurs that changes the trajectory of our story forever. I’m not spoiling the event because I don’t want the MILK crew to turn sour on me.

In Milly Monka’s MILK Factory, Milly Monka (MC Mia Oudes) has been bestowed a quest by Zeus disguised as a cow (Dylan Hutton as both Zeus and Cow). Ever the delegator, Milly distributes Molden Mickets inviting the ‘lucky’ finders to her Milk Mactory in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the bush. And so, small children (Hutton, Zoe Christall, Timothy Fraser, and Sean Burnett Dugdale-Martin) arrive in the bush (except Hutton’s character Bush Boy, who was already there) and are welcomed inside to “find the target”, or else.

This is the fifth MILK show and the second that I’ve seen, the first being MILKOWEEN, where Halloween met milk met madness met mayhem. In Milly Monka’s MILK Factory, Ruff as Gutz doesn’t lean quite as hard into the theme. Brighter costumes, a more colourful lighting scheme and zanier set, a spoonful of Oompa-Loompa-esque music, and chocolate milk (or mocklate milk, if you will), would be delicious touches in the future.

But this is all small (chocolate) fish. With a hilarious and hysterical premise perfectly executed by exceedingly talented performers who change course at the drop of a milk, and a respectful ethos designed around audience comfort, Milly Monka’s MILK Factory is magnificent. I had an outrageously good time downing this pint of pure happiness.  

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