Review: Under Milk Wood @Northern Stage

Image Credit: Pamela Raith Photography

Just when you thought you knew everything about your small and quiet town, someone creates a play and your opinions of your neighbours’ change.

At least that is what it felt like when I went to see Under Milk Wood.  It was originally written as a play for voices by Dylan Thomas,  it has been turned into a stage performance.   We open our eyes and ears and find about all of the goings on in a Welsh fishing town of Llareggub (read it backwards) from mischievous encounters to husbands desperate to poison their wives, it turns out there is more in this town than meets the eye.

Directed by Elayce Ismail, Under Milk Wood is a 360 audiovisual performance that plays on all of the senses. The stage two is not in the classic setting that you would expect, there are cosy wooden chairs set all around the space with the performance happening in the centre.

As Myfanwy and Dai played by Christina Berriman Dawson and David Kirkbride use a variety of household props and their own voices on a sound on sound machine to create the sounds of water, wind, waves and many more. The visual element in this play is not only the actors but the projection of images on the curtains,  some images more tasteful than others. It is definitely an interesting interpretation of Under Milk Wood.  

Set in Wales I assumed that the actors would be or would have a Welsh accent to nod to the original creation. However, Dawson and Kirkbride have North East accents which I thought added a different flow and rhythm to the poetic language. 

For a small town, a lot goes on and I did lose track of some of the stories and was only able to follow a couple of them. The play is a little long in duration, and it was due to the setting and temperature (at the time) in the space I felt there was a level of intimacy and warmth that I fell asleep. Yet the language is so poetic and the way it is performed puts me in a state of complete relaxation, almost like a dreamlike state. I would not have minded if I were to put some headphones on, closed my eyes and listened to the rest of Under Milk Wood and drifted away.

Under Milk Wood is on till the 17th November for more information click here 



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