Theatre in Wales

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At Wales Theatre Company

Under Milk Wood , Touring , January 29, 2004
WHEN acclaimed director Michael Bogdanov decided to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dylan Thomas's death, he knew exactly the best way to do it - by staging a new production of the Swansea writer's most famous work Under Milk Wood.

The production - which starred Welsh actor Matthew Rhys as First Voice, the role made famous by Richard Burton - proved a sell-out when it was staged in Thomas's home city and in Cardiff before Christmas.

But fans of Thomas and Bogdanov living in other parts of Wales will not miss out on seeing the work as it's now touring the country.

Under Milk Wood really is a classic and since its New York premiere just months before Thomas's death, it has been staged throughout the world in countless different languages.

The play is an inspired and irreverent account of life and love in the imaginary seaside town of Llareggub.

Heavily influenced by James Joyce, it recounts the dream, gossip and waking hours of this typically sleeping Welsh town.

Among the humorously eccentric yet unforgettably charming characters are Captain Cat, Polly Garter, Organ Morgan, Willy Nilly the Postman and Dai Bread.

Although Rhys is unable to join the tour as he is rehearsing with the Royal Shakespeare Company for a production of Romeo and Juliet, another Welsh actor, Russell Gomer, is taking his place as First Voice.

Gomer was born in South Wales and trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

A founder member of Fiction Factory Theatre Company, he performed throughout Britain, Europe and Australia in their acclaimed productions of House of America, Flowers of the Dead Red Sea, Song from a Forgotten City and a one-man show, Envy.

Under Milk Wood visits: Theatr Hafren, Newtown (today until Saturday); North Wales Theatre, Llandudno (February 5 to 7); Aberdare Coliseum (February 9 to 11); Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon (February 12 to 14); The Stiwt, Wrexham (February 16 to 18); Aberystwyth Arts Centre (February 19 to 21); Torch Theatre, Milford Haven (April 12 to 14) and Theatr Gwynedd, Bangor (April 15 to 17)

Reviewed by: Karen Price Western Mail

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