Review: Once Below Milk Wood

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Westacre Theatre staged a very different type of production last Friday, when they stripped back all of the props and costumes to give a minimal, but very effective performance.

A centenary tribute to the Welsh wonder, Dylan Thomas, Once Below Milk Wood was specially devised by director Andy Naylor, to mark 100 years since the birth of this great poet.

The cast recited poetry and memories of Thomas’ against a slideshow of photographs of the man himself and his loved ones.

The cast of nine readers painted a picture of the poet’s life and career, from the first poem he wrote, to his broadcasting with the BBC and his time in New York.

Each playing multiple characters in the story of his life, the readers gave a fascinating insight into the man behind the poems, and for those well-versed in his works, it gave an opportunity to celebrate his talents.

After a short interval, the cast gave an abridged reading of Under Milk Wood.

This 1954 radio drama gave a perfect example of Thomas’ work for the audience, the cast’s voices mingling beautifully with the imagery of the poetic language. If you closed your eyes you could picture the seaside town, and the cast did an amazing job at transporting us there.

They brought the characters to life with humour and ease, and the larger number of readers gave a great chance to see some of the other shining stars from the theatre company perform.

by Lucy Ruthnum