"Under Milk Wood", Dylan Thomas, performed by Plantlife Productions,
C-cubed, Lawnmarket, 12.35pm.
Dylan Thomas' (pictured) classic was certainly performed, but somewhere in this
production, the poetry got lost.
The large cast were young (and surprisingly, mainly English, considering
the work is written so intrinsically for Welsh voices). There was no shortage
of energy, from the start of the 'bible-black night' through to the dawn and the
long day of human drama which enfolds through this beautiful poetic narrative.
The audience sat on either side of the performance space to view the actors, who
blended skillful physical threat re with the text. Unfortunately, the overall
effect of all this was not so much poetry in motion as confusion (not helped by
some actors swapping characters at certain points). Even the holding up of a
blackboard with characters' names on them from time to time did not really serve
to clarify who was who. Some of the audience seemed enthralled by the
physicality of the performance, but others (myself included) had to close their
eyes in places, to absorb the poetry without having the visual effects and
movements of the cast become an overkill.
This is a talented company, but their craft would be better attuned to
other forms of writing. "Under Milk Wood" was not a great radio success for
nothing. The lyricism of the poetry is not attuned to so much physical threat
re, and they made uneasy bedfellows in this production. * *