Tuned in to life in Llareggub - The Leamington Observer

Tuned in to life in Llareggub

Ian Hughes 31st Mar, 2024   0

A CAST of eccentric inhabitants from a Welsh town brought to life in the mind of one of that nation’s greatest writers makes a welcome and successful appearance on the stage in this creditable production.

Dylan Thomas’s masterpiece for voices is in many ways inseparable from the 1950s recording made at the BBC featuring the unmistakable tones of Richard Burton.

This production borrows a lot from the making of that legendary recording without at any time attempting to just impersonate it.

A cast of about a dozen all reading from scripts – with evident preparation – all find characters of their own in the array of oddballs Thomas chose to populate his fictional town.

The poetry of the language, and the continued use of narration rather than dialogue means this is not a natural stage play. But the Loft, under the direction of David Fletcher, have put a lot into the visuals to go with the voices.

The actors move in and out of range of the microphones, hint at characterisation while still being radio actors and display clear enjoyment in each others’ performances. The studio recording that this piece comprised would probably have had little for any audience to see but here there’s enough to keep everyone entertained.

A gentle and atmospheric musical score and an evocative design add to the overall flavour.

One nice touch is the live sound effects provided in the studio. Town bells, slamming doors, creaking stairs all performed live to dovetail in with the words. If anything these ‘backroom stars’ could have been used a bit more.

Under Milk Wood’s appeal as a piece of poetry and sharp social observation will probably endure forever. This intelligent and sensitive production should point the way for future groups to move the richness of the text onto a wider stage.

Visit lofttheatrecompany.com for tickets and full production details.


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