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Peter Buckroyd reviews Under Milk Wood at the Loft, Leamington Spa

DYLAN Thomas wrote his 1954 play as a radio play with the listener hearing the voices of over 40 characters in the (backwards?) Welsh town of Llareggub so the challenge of creating a stage performance where the audience can see as well as hear what is happening is a considerable one, writes Peter Buckroyd.

It often doesn’t work very well. Because you can see the performers you can’t always work out which character they are playing. It’s easy to get the characters muddled up. Thomas’s poetic script is sometimes difficult to get your head round. Visual signals can easily confuse what Thomas intended to happen within the mind of the listener.

Under Milk Wood
Under Milk Wood

In David Fletcher’s enchanting production (he is also the voice of one of the two narrators) the Loft Theatre avoids all these potential pitfalls by showing the audience a recording studio with the actors arriving, chatting to each other and milling around before the ‘On Air’ sign lights up when they begin to stand or cluster round one of the six BBC microphones.

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