UNDER MILK WOOD: Dylan Thomas
Clwyd Theatr Cymru on Tour
Runs: 2h 20m, one interval
Touring to 12 07 14: Info www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk
Review: Alexander Ray Edser, Birmingham Rep, 02 06 14
A work of great beauty, beautifully done.
January 1954 when it was first broadcast on the radio, so 50 years ago. Who better, one might ask, than Clwyd Theatr Cymru, to celebrate this fact? And Terry Hands’s production is about as wonderful as you can get.
Hands and his team judge the production perfectly; characters are broadly drawn capturing the naughtiness and affection with which Thomas draws them. Moments of comedy merge seamlessly into the touchingly beautiful, nor are the harder edges of some of the social comment lost either.
Owen Teale leads the team. He is our bridge into the Llareggub world; he is as warmly three-dimensional as an actor can be. His voice is rich, subtle and flexible, so that Thomas’s astounding word pictures sail into the auditorium. Yet Teale never signals the poetry to us; he allows it to find its own rhythms, to live and breathe. This is not the firebrand Teale we often see in the RSC and elsewhere, but a quieter man, a man who demonstrates his love for the text as well as a love for the town and characters he describes.
The talented ensemble present the myriad characters with affection, charm and great good humour. While they draw them broadly, they manage to keep them real enough to win our affections . . . As morning turns into afternoon, evening and night again, we find we really care about these people. We see through the art into the human hearts beneath.
In Martyn Bainbridge’s designs – all natural browns – Hands orchestrates the play expertly. Changes of rhythm and tone affect us greatly.
No wonder this extraordinary work celebrates its 50th year; it’s towering art.
Ifan Huw Dafydd, Hedydd Dylan, Richard Elfyn, Sara Harris-Davies, Sophie Melville, Steven Meo, Caryl Morgan, Simon Nehan, Kai Owen, Christian Patterson, Owen Teale
Director: Terry Hands
Designer: Martyn Bainbridge
Lighting: Terry Hands
Assistant Director: Lora Davies