Taking no bull in retelling of a Greek myth

Bullish by Milk Presents is a retelling of the myth of Theseus and the minotaur
Bullish by Milk Presents is a retelling of the myth of Theseus and the minotaur

Co-created by Lucy J Skilbeck and an ensemble of queer, trans and drag performers, the Milk Presents troupe brings its cabaret-inflected take on the myth of the minotaur to Hampshire. 

Bullish uses the ancient Greek myth to explore contemporary identity and our fear of otherness.

The show premiered at Camden People’s Theatre last year, headlining the venue’s Come As You Are Festival of trans, non-binary and gender queer theatre.

It is the story of Theseus and the Minotaur remoulded and transformed. An ensemble of hopers and renegades pass, pack and blag their way out of the Labyrinth, redefining the myths that shape our identity.

The minotaur, a creature who is half-man and half-bull, lives alone within the complex and cavernous Labyrinth. That is until Theseus arrives, a young warrior set on killing the minotaur at all costs. It is a tale of treachery, power and love, hell-bent on not taming the minotaur within.

Lucy J Skilbeck was the Genesis Future Director 2017 at the Young Vic where they directed Chekov’s The Bear/The Proposal. Skilbeck was the BBC Performing Arts Fellow for Derby Theatre 2013 and the recipient of the BBC Legacy Fund 2015.

Lucy says: ‘The minotaur exists in the spaces in-between – residing not above ground but not too far below, a being part bull, part person, and it is this slippery in-between state that first drew me to the myth of the minotaur as a way of talking about and exploring gender identity.

‘I’m so excited to take the show on tour and for it to find itself in new spaces with new audiences across the country.’

 Co-company director Adam Robertson adds: ‘As a company we continue to develop the way we talk about gender on stage and working on Bullish has opened up new avenues.

‘We’ve developed a photography exhibition with our cast that celebrates the plurality of gender which will tour alongside Bullish to all the venues and will open up the myth in a new way for our audiences.’

Milk Presents are Ruby Glaskin, Adam Robertson and Lucy J Skilbeck. The company’s work often explores gender using stories from history and mythology. Their work fuses cabaret and new writing in an accessible and joyful way. Their drag king play about Joan of Arc, Joan, won a Scotsman Fringe First Award, The Stage Award and Spirit of the Fringe Award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016 before touring and playing the Fringe again in 2017.

Bullish is at Nuffield Theatre, Southampton, as part of the Bungalow Cafe Festival, on September 20 and 21. Go to nstheatres.co.uk.