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On from 06 May 2009 till 14 May 2009
by David Mills with Michael Roulston on piano.
Genre(s): Drama


A caustic cabaret meltdown!

Mills’ signature meltdown cabaret mixes biting wit and acerbic insight in an evening of original songs and deliciously edgy reinventions. An acid-tongued and hysterical rant with
the occasional apocalyptic vision and a gospel melody.

Featuring Michael Roulston on piano.


TIME OUT, 3 star review by Luc Powell

David Mills’s prolonged and delightfully dour miaow at everything a gay man might hold dear nestles between theatre, cabaret and stand-up (actually sit-down) comedy. Deft lighting changes track his mood: from a default setting of terminally bored, to slightly hysterical, to a grand climax at roseate religious ecstasy – and back to bored again. Sweetly counterpointed by the earnest Michael Roulston on piano, Mills’s is a citric but irreverent commentary on the disappointment of everything, including his own show.

The lack of dramatic momentum isn’t what stymies Mills’s show. It’s that musically, only one number flies. You could forgive his complete lack of singing voice, if only he could unearth a reason, or a hint of passion, for the 12 musical numbers, from Neils Young to Diamond via David Bowie. But his studiously languorous stage persona forbids either. Mills has stretched his central joke so far it starts to strangle him. However, his talent for toxic self-flagellation, and whip-cracking one-liners, is audaciously thrilling.



"This self-mocking, edgy parodist rattles off witty invective at the speed of light." San Francisco Bay Times

GAYDARNATION.COM – Review of The New Black
Rating: 4 star
Queer Content: 3 star
Hunk/Babe Factor: 3 star
Author: Alan Montgomery, 11 May 2009

The New Black David Mills is apparently a bit of an old hand at this cabaret thing with a history of performances in New York, San Francisco and now London. His CV features appearances at various left field venues in the capital including The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, Bistrotheque and the Drill Hall. I suppose I should admit right now that I’ve never heard of Mills before (sorry David), but his press release promises a “caustic cabaret meltdown” and it’s being performed a short hop, skip and jump from my humble abode so there’s no good reason not to head along to the Oval House Theatre for a piece of The New Black.

The Oval House Theatre is not the kind of place I would expect to find this show – most of the plays that I have seen here over the past few years have tended to be of the more worthy kind, a bit political, with a certain sense of seriousness. The New Black, however, could be seen as the antithesis of worthiness. It’s cruel, nasty, bitchy and certainly not one for the PC brigade but most importantly it’s incredibly funny.

Don’t be fooled by Mills’ claims to have turned over a new leaf at the beginning of the show – behind his fake smiles and dead eyes lies a heart of purest, darkest lead. Despite claiming to be well on the way down his journey to “wellness”, his new charitable mood soon dissolves into a rant against, well, just about everyone – gay choirs, cats, mothers, Jesus; no one is safe from his acid wit.

To lighten the mood, Mills throws in a selection of songs, both new compositions and rather unusual versions of ‘classics’ – if you can call the work of Samantha Mumba and Crystal Waters ‘classics’ – while his talented and cherub faced pianist Michael Roulston acts as the perfect foil for the leading man’s sharp features and even sharper wit.

If you’re after a bright and breezy bit of comedy then look elsewhere – The New Black is dark, sadistic and wicked. Mills’ delivery is spot on, dripping with insincerity and his comic timing is perfect, each pause and grimace held perfectly to wring the laughter out of each nasty line.

His singing ain’t bad either, owing more to the booze soaked vocals of Elaine Stritch than to the pitch perfect pipes of Susan Boyle, which is a comparison, I assume, he would be more than happy with.

There’s a cabaret club feel to the performance, all sharp black suits and crooning cross-legged from a high stool; you even get handed a complimentary Bloody Sour cocktail on the way in – luckily Mills’ comedy skills are better than his cocktail mixing.

I can’t help but feel that this show would have worked even better in a smoky basement somewhere (remember them?), but nothing’s perfect I guess. As it happens, The New Black get’s pretty damn close.

If you are easily offended, probably best to steer clear of The New Black. Not that it’s out and out offensive –although a couple of the more pointed comments did draw gasps from the crowd – but you could certainly say that it is relentlessly twisted and hilariously arch. Perhaps you need to be slightly over the hill and most definitely jaded to really appreciate it. So probably not the best time to announce that I for one absolutely loved it.

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