Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Under Milk Wood

Nannerch Players , Nannerch , July-22-07
Nannerch, July 11, 13 and 14

Nannerch Players took everything the weather could throw at them for their outdoor performance of Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas.

And despite a damp opening night and an even wetter second night, the audience showed up and the lighting, music and more critically the microphones all worked thanks to the wizardry of Jim and Emma Maxwell and Phil Reston.

Almost 300 turned out for the final performance on Saturday night and came armed with picnics and wine. The weather was much kinder and everyone appeared to thoroughly enjoy the interpretation of Thomas' famous masterpiece, enhanced by a musical score especially composed by Malcolm Fisher, who is an English teacher at Argoed High School in Mynydd Isa, and performed by a talented band of local musicians.

The crowds absolutely loved the Ogmore Pritchards played with great comic timing by Cath Yeardley, Ieuan Watkins and Kevin Taws and they laughed along with the Cherry Owens and the Dai Bread threesome as Pete Lewis, playing Dai Bread, relished the love of his two very different wives played by Lynn Vaughan and Carol Hornby.

Lynn doubled up with great hilarity as the screechy martyr to music, Mrs Organ Morgan while her organ obsessed husband, played by Ieuan Watkins, heard none of her wailings only his beloved Bach playing in his head,

They were touched by the emotional torment of blind Captain Cat played with great empathy by Tim Clisby. And they bathed in the divine patriotism of Rev Eli Jenkins and the unashamed campness of shopkeeper Mog Edwards portrayed in all their diverse glory by Doug Jones, one of the many doubled roles achieved by a very enthusiastic and adaptable cast. The audience lapped up the cameo roles of the policeman, the cobbler, the milkman and the postman, the farmer, the butcher and the many men,women and children of the village,

And soon all the pieces of Dylan Thomas' jigsaw were in place slotted together with the guiding narrative from 1st Voice (Gareth Evans who also directed the play) and 2nd Voice, (Liz Grieve). No-one who saw the performance could fail to be impressed by their capacity to learn such a quantity and quality of words and then deliver them with such alacrity (a
combined 800 lines).

The delicious promiscuity of Rosie Probert and the slovenly defiance of Lily Smalls (both played to the greatest effect by Carolyn Davies-Moore) had the audience in raptures and they were quick to applaud the hauntingly soulful voice of Jodie Biddle as Polly Garter and Mae Rose Cottage.

They could not have guessed without looking at the programme that the sexy temptress Gossamer Beynon and the lumpen dim-witted Bessie Bighead were transformations of Sally Dyment.

Add some impressive scenery and props including two boats, shops, houses and a bar plus a carefree layabout of a No Good Boyo (Paul Harrison), an hilarious Mr Pugh with his poisonous intent (played by Michael Berry), and the 'pokerbacked' subject of his murderous thoughts his wife played with po-faced mastery by Marilyn Jones, and the recipe of an excellent production of Under Milk Wood was complete.

Reviewed by: chester leader

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