Characterful performance of Dylan Thomas classic comes to the Abbey Theatre

Under Milk Wood

Under Milk Wood - Credit: Archant

Eleven actors are taking on the challenge of creating over 30 characters in the Company of Ten’s production of Under Milk Wood which opens at the Abbey Theatre next Friday, July 1.

Under Milk Wood

Under Milk Wood - Credit: Archant

The well-known but rarely seen play was originally written by Dylan Thomas as a 1954 BBC Radio drama and first performed as a stage play in 1956. In this production the cast of five women and six men invite the audience to listen to the dreams, innermost thoughts and conversations of the inhabitants of the small 1930s fishing village of Llareggub which has a different meeting when read backwards.

The play opens at night, and the audience is privy to the dreams of the sleeping townsfolk. As they awake and start their day, it becomes clear how their feelings affect whatever they do and the audience is invited watch them as they go about their daily business.

There is unrequited love, alcoholism, unemployment and polygamy amongst other things but all dealt with in a gentle way.

Several cast members and the director, Chris Bramwell, have Welsh connections. It was while Chris was at Aberystwyth University that he was approached to put on an entertainment for summer tourists and Under Milk Wood was one of the productions.

Under Milk Wood

Under Milk Wood - Credit: Archant

He explained “The experience led me to become a professional actor, and it introduced me to Under Milk Wood. I fell under its spell then, and have been under it ever since. There is simply nothing like it in British literature.”

Veteran Company of Ten actor and director Terry Prince is playing Captain Cat, a blind sea captain, and Organ Morgan, the church organist who thinks of music and orchestras night and day.

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His Welsh connection comes from his maternal grandmother’s side of the family in South Wales and the Welsh borders while Phoebe Greenland has had family holidays in Tenby since she was four years old and has an uncle who is a Welsh farmer.

She said: “I play some very steamy characters. There is Lily Smalls, a very self-assured maid, Myfanwy Price, a sweet shop owner and lover of Mog Edwards, 17-year-old Mae-Rose Cottage, ready for life in the fast lane, and Gossamer Beynon, the schoolteacher who dreams of finding true love.

David Powell, who was brought up in South East Wales, is taking on the roles of Willy Nilly, the postman who steams open the post with his wife, Dai Bread, the bigamist baker, Cherry Owen, a heavy drinker, Jack Black the cobbler and Nogood Boyo, the lazy fisherman with a reputation for causing trouble.

Performances take place on the Abbey Theatre main stage at 8pm tomorrow and Saturday, July 1 and 2, and from Tuesday, July 5, to Saturday, July 9. There is also a Sunday matinee at 2,30pm next weekend.

To book tickets click here or call the box office on 01727 857861.