Under Milk Wood brings Dylan Thomas to Richmond Theatre

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Classic: Under Milk Wood Classic: Under Milk Wood

Life in a small Welsh town is coming to Richmond Theatre with the arrival of Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood next month.

Thomas’s work takes the audience to the fictional coastal town of Llareggub to see the hopes and thoughts of its inhabitants through their dreams and daily life.

Under Milk Wood was first broadcast in Britain as a radio play in 1954 and this play on sex, death and religion has since become a very popular piece of Welsh work.

Of course a play is only as good as the people who perform in it, with this rendition featuring talent from Wales such as Game of Thrones star Owen Teale.

Teale, who won a Tony award for his 1997 performance in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, is more than happy to narrate Under Milk Wood as First Voice.

"I’ve grown up with it, it’s a part of my culture," he says. "It’s such an honour."

While admitting the performance and its characters may seem crazy to the audience at first, Teale is pleased with the play’s popularity on the road so far.

He says: "What I love is that people come back, three times sometimes."

Teale attributes this to the way the audience becomes involved with the play, with the performance occasionally taking breaks because of audience members laughing too much.

He is also happy about working with the rest of the cast, which includes Torchwood actor Kai Owen and Steven Meo from the Fabulous Baker Boys.

"We give a certain amount of respect to one another on stage," says Teale.

Teale likewise thinks highly of director Terry Hands, who he was worked with previously on Macbeth at Clywd Theatr Cymru in Wales.

He says: "His experience is second to none. He has vision over all of what the play is trying to say."

Of course what the play is trying to say might be a little too rude for some, as Thomas began working on it while still quite young.

This has not stopped Hands in the slightest, with Teale saying, if anything, they have tried to polish and bring out the double-entendres and visceral eagerness of the play.

Though originally written by Thomas as a "play for voices", there were in fact two stage performances of Under Milk Wood in New York before the famous 1954 radio broadcast by the BBC.

Since then, there have been several adaptations of the play, including a film, an animation and a one-off television production by the BBC starring Sir Tom Jones.

Marking the centenary of Dylan Thomas’s birth and the 60th anniversary of the play, Hand’s run began at the Clywd Theatr Cymru before making its way through Wales and into England.

It will reach the end of its run at Richmond on Monday, July 7, with eight performances until the following Saturday, July 12.

Under Milk Wood; Richmond Theatre, The Green, Richmond; July 7-12, 7.30pm (plus 2.30pm on Wednesday and Saturday); £10-£32.90; Call 0844 8717651 or visit atgtickets.com/richmond.

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