Under Milk Wood
Liverpool Playhouse Theatre
May 18 – May 24
Author: Dylan Thomas
Director: Terry Hands
Producer: Theatre Clywd Cymru
Cast: Owen Teale, Christian Patterson, Hedydd Dylan, Steven Meo, Richard Elfyn, Sara Harris-Davies, Kai Owen, Simon Nehan, Ifan Huw Dafydd, Sophie Melville, Caryl Morgan
Running Time: 2 hrs 10 mins
Superb. Sensational. Sublime. Just three alliterative superlatives that can be supplied to this magnificent production of Dylan Thomas’ greatest, iconic work, Under Milk Wood, which runs until this Saturday at The Liverpool Playhouse Theatre.
The moment the cast scamper up on stage beneath the vast, circular, 3-D model representing Llanreggub, still abed though hardly still, the audience cannot fail to be anything but engrossed in Thomas’ rich dialogue and by what transpires amidst the seemingly sleepy streets, houses and surrounding areas of this fictional Welsh village.
Of course, Thomas’ mastery of the English poetic phrase is almost tangible yet there is still the necessity for a skilled cast to carry it off ... and what a cast has been assembled here, turning out with apparent effortless ease moments of raw humour and deep pathos that make the whole show joyfully voyeuristic.
Owen Teale as First Voice One and Christian Patterson as First Voice Two narrate proceedings like omnipresent angels with two impressively faultless performances. Hedydd Dylan in her triumvirate roles, but particularly as Polly Garter, is an absolute joy to behold, and seals the deal with a fine singing voice that does nothing but bring tears to the eyes, such is its emotional power. Richard Elfyn as the murderously minded, but pathetically dominated, Mr Pugh and, also, as the miserly fantasist Mog are unforgettable, whereas Sophie Melville as Mrs. Pugh is despicably delightful.
As a result, it is clear that Terry Hands – Founder Director of the Liverpool Everyman – has taken this celebration of Under Milk Wood’s premiere performance, given it a shake and sprinkled with nothing but star dust and gold and, as a result, has delivered what can only be described as a master class in great British theatre.