Under Milk Wood review: Michael Sheen leads a strong cast

Michael Sheen leads a strong cast in a production of Under Milk Wood which fully milks the satirical but tender poignancy of Dylan Thomas’s writing

Under Milk Wood

Olivier Theatre, 런던 1hr 55mins, [object Window] 24

평가:

The whole idea of Dylan Thomas’s famous ‘play for voices’ on the radio was that you should shut your lids and listen to it, your mind’s eye conjuring up its genius montage of character sketches.

Here the thing opens not in a ‘starless and Bible-black’ night, but at breakfast in a care home, with a lot of banal, invented dialogue (by Sian Owen) between the nurses and shuffling residents. This geriatric boredom goes on for ages.

마이클 쉰, without booming and in his native Port Talbot voice, evokes the ‘sloeblack, 느린, 검정, crowblack, fishingboatbobbing sea’ in Under Milk Wood

마이클 쉰, without booming and in his native Port Talbot voice, evokes the ‘sloeblack, 느린, 검정, crowblack, fishingboatbobbing sea’ in Under Milk Wood

Then at last, 하나님께 감사, 마이클 쉰, actor-laddie co-star of BBC’s Staged, turns up, all beard and hair curls, to visit his demented father, called Richard Jenkins (a nod to the real name of Richard Burton, the never-since-matched original narrator of Under Milk Wood), played by a beautifully bewildered Karl Johnson.

After all this care home contextualising – Covid oddly doesn’t get a mention – the residents assume multiple characters. Sheen, without booming and in his native Port Talbot voice, evokes the ‘sloeblack, 느린, 검정, crowblack, fishingboatbobbing sea’ beside the fictional town of Llareggub, whose name spelt backwards gives you an idea of what goes on there.

Director Lyndsey Turner fully milks the satirical but tender poignancy of the writing with the aid of a strong, mostly Welsh cast. 위: Sian Phillips, Kezrena James and Cleo Sylvestre

Director Lyndsey Turner fully milks the satirical but tender poignancy of the writing with the aid of a strong, mostly Welsh cast. 위: Sian Phillips, Kezrena James and Cleo Sylvestre

Director Lyndsey Turner fully milks the satirical but tender poignancy of the writing with the aid of a strong, mostly Welsh cast.

Anthony O’Donnell plays blind Captain Cat, his briny dreams ‘sardined with women’; Sian Phillips is a thin and spectral Polly Garter; Alan David is a furtive joy as Mr Pugh, nursing murderous thoughts toward Mrs Pugh (Cleo Sylvestre); and Susan Brown’s uptight Mrs Ogmore-Pritchard runs a sanitised, virus-free guest house that’s dead topical.

Just as they should, Thomas’s words tumble down the fishy cobbles of this Welsh fairytale like a no-good boyo at closing time. It’s just a shame that the opening sequence pads this out to the best part of two hours without interval and half-kills the momentum.