Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Under Milk Wood

Wales Theatre Company , Swansea Grand Theatre , November-01-03
How appropriate that the launch of a new Welsh company should feature this popular masterpiece to mark the 50th anniversary of Dylan Thomas’ death.

Michael Bogdanov’s brisk, no frills production on a bare, steeply-raked rostrum, atmospherically lit and backed with evocative Welsh songs, is masterly. He mines the rich seams of the streams of consciousness in upfront contemporary style with a freshness that proves irresistible.

Matthew Rhys narrates with incisive attack, eschewing the dreamy Celtic poet aura often employed, well backed by Nia Roberts as the second voice. However, it is the ensemble playing of the outstanding cast – Kathryn Dimery, Nickie Rainsford, Llinos Daniel, Russell Gomer, Phylip Harries and Morgan Rhys – that makes this staging such a memorable experience. Miming, singing, reciting, gossiping, they breathe life into the 50-plus contrasting roles, creating a wonderful parade of characters – all brought to vivid life without the aid of sets, props or change of costume. So funny, often bordering on caricature but intensely moving too, this is indeed a production to savour.

Reviewed by: Jon Holliday, The Stage

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