Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

HILLTOP UNDER MILK WOOD

Under Milk Wood

Theatr Silures , Clyne Farm Centre, Swansea , August-07-18
Under Milk Wood  by Theatr Silures Dylan Thomas’s classic Under Milk Wood is one of the most performed productions around but there can be few better settings than the one enjoyed by this latest incarnation of the poet’s play for voices.
Perched on a hilltop, overlooking the splendid curving shore of Dylan’s beloved Swansea Bay, Clyne Farm Centre is an inspired venue for the excellent Theatr Silures’s outdoor performance.
A hugely appreciative sell-out audience filled the old farmyard to watch the timeless tale of gossip, dreams and daily drama of the lives of the inhabitants of a seaside town unfold against the backdrop of Mumbles, rumoured to have played a role in inspiring Dylan’s words.
The entire cast does an admirable job of following Dylan’s advice to the play’s original line up – ‘Love the words’ – with Steve Drowley deserving particular praise for following in the footsteps of Richard Burton and Dylan himself in bringing the narration to life with his rich, musical voice, while John Weldon’s facial expressions and mannerisms were a constant source of comic mirth.
The remainder of the cast - Sarah Jayne Hopkins, Jude Lewis, Steve Drowley and Aaron Price - all played their part in reminding us of why this is such a sublime piece of theatre.
But, without detracting from the acting, the setting itself steals the show.
Nature often inspired Dylan and where else would the Reverend Eli Jenkin’s lyrical praise of the Welsh landscape be accompanied by the real lowing of cattle and the flap of woodpigeons’ wings? And as blind Captain Cat, faultlessly played by Adrian Bevan, recalls long lost voyages the eye drifts to a merchant ship slipping past Mumbles head towards the open sea.
And as darkness falls once more – ‘Dusk is drowned for ever until tomorrow’ - the most talented of set designers and light technicians could not compete with the natural drawing of dusk that accompanies this performance.
While we all will no doubt look back fondly on the scorching summer of 2018, those lucky enough to have seen this production in Clyne Farm Centre should have fonder memories than most.
Under Milk Wood runs at Clyne Farm Centre un till Saturday, August 11.

Reviewed by: Geraint Thomas

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