Bluebeard: A Fairy Tale for Adults @ Underbelly

Unfortunate wives

Feature by Lois Jeary | 20 Aug 2011
  • Bluebeard: A Fairy Tale for Adults @ Underbelly

The tale of the murderous Bluebeard and his unfortunate wives necessitates a degree of shock and horror; Milk Presents do not hold back in this very adult telling of the gruesome legend.

While the pretence of this story is that all women want to be wooed, wed and chained to the kitchen sink to live out their days in domestic bliss, it comes as no surprise that Bluebeard's three wives have been swept away by his charms. Adam Robertson's Bluebeard is an imposing hulk of a man with an award-winning moustache and charismatic eyebrows. Who could resist such a charmer, even if he does have questionable personal hygiene, eats like a pig and masturbates furiously while wearing your best kitchen apron?

When she discovers the grizzly remains of her husband's ex-wives in a locked chamber of his vast abode, our heroine, played with a child-like innocence by Ruby Glaskin, must avoid the same fate. The dénouement may not be terribly feminist – she still requires men to help her escape – but it does strike a blow for women everywhere. Told through vaudevillian song and a slightly superfluous compère, it is a perfectly predictable narrative, yet what really stands out is the company's handling of the material.

The whole production is ramshackle and lo-fi, with an overflow of junk employed to good effect. Proving that you can light a theatre with nothing more than an overhead projector and bicycle powered spotlight, indicate scenes with writing scrawled on lace stockings and tell of a woman's drowning with a bubble wand and bucket, Bluebeard: A Fairytale for Adults is an ode to the housewives' mantra of make-do-and-mend.

Underbelly, until 28 August, 6.55pm