Under Milk Wood (Theatre Royal, Brighton)

I went to the Theatre Royal in Brighton today, which was lucky as I was reviewing a play there called Under Milk Wood.

It was written by Dylan Thomas (named after the rabbit in The Magic Roundabout) and was all about Welsh people. I know it was because I once accidentally saw an episode of Pobol y Cwm on TV, which I think was about Myfanwy and her border collie becoming mayor.

I really like Only Men Aloud and I thought some of them might have been in it and sung a few songs because they’re Welsh, but they weren’t which is something that will disappoint many Only Men Aloud fans or OMA as they like to call them. 

However, I really enjoyed it because not only was it about Welsh people who lived in a Welsh village (which I can’t name because it reads something naughty if you read it backwards – fancy Dylan Thomas not noticing that one!) but when I read the programme I saw that the cast were also Welsh. This was good because they were called upon to act in a Welsh accent. 

It starred Owen Teale (best known for being in that TV series on a Monday night which I can never watch because I am usually coming home on the bus from Eastbourne, where I review plays at the theatre. I always enjoy a chinwag with Chris Jordan when I go and they so look forward to seeing me and take time out from whatever they are doing to speak to me. The other week he said “Oh no! It’s that bloody woman again!” and although I looked round I couldn’t see who he was talking about.). It must have been really difficult for him because everyone remembers when the part he played was done by Richard Burton (best known for narrating Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds.)

One of the other reviewers said something along the lines of this being Dylan Thomas’s opus dei, which I think is Welsh for “starts off in the morning” and I thought it worth quoting. I also overheard someone saying they had left the gas on but I don’t think that was anything to do with this production. When we were chatting during the interval one said this was originally a radio play but I don’t think that can be right because in this they were acting on stage. 

I didn’t recognise anyone else in the cast apart from Kai Owen, who is in Torchwood, which is an anagram of Doctor Who, which starts on BBC1 on August 23rd, so I suppose he is really trying to promote the new series by being in this play. He barked and made noises. 

It was very noticeable that hardly any of the actors were wearing shoes. They must have spent so much on the beautiful set that they couldn’t afford shoes as well. Regular readers will know that I have a Bet Noire about costumes, and they could have done with changing because it was hard to know who they were supposed to be at any one time. 

During the performance there was a loud crack. I don’t know what it was but it was the most exciting experience I have ever had in the theatre, even more exciting than the lights going out during Black Coffee, written by Agatha Christie, and starring Robert Powell (best known for playing Jesus). I was really scared because I thought someone might be trying to shoot me, just like they did Abraham Lincoln when he went to the theatre, but I’ve lived to tell the tale!

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