This ‘Milk Wood’ more than just voices

DYLAN Thomas’s 1953 play  “Under Milk Wood” is one of the most-loved plays in the English language repertoire.

Erin Pugh, Graham Robertson, Geoffrey Borny and Alice Ferguson lined up on stage—a ‘trick’ to deceive audiences

Erin Pugh, Graham Robertson, Geoffrey Borny and Alice Ferguson lined up on stage—a ‘trick’ to deceive audiences

Set in the tiny Welsh village Llareggub (“bugger all” backwards, if you didn’t know), it was Thomas’ last great work, initially for radio a but later adapted to the stage.

There’s always a fair bit of argument as to how “staged” it needs to be. In the hands of a famous “voice” like Richard Burton it needs nothing more than voice, but Canberra director Duncan Ley has opted for a full staging.

Not that’s you’d know it when you walk into the theatre.

Actor Geoffrey Borny was keen to take “CityNews” behind the scenes to view the enormous array of props set on stage “trucks” all ready to swing out onto the stage.

What  you’ll see at first, Borny says, is a line of chairs on a black stage. The important thing in fully staging “Under Milk Wood” is not to lose the lovely language, so this is a trick to deceive audiences into thinking “oh it’s going to be one of those boring voice plays,” he says.

But of course Thomas is never boring, as the roars of laughter from the actors on the set showed. Mind you, as Borny says, Thomas’s exploration of life in Llareggub does focus on the darker hours. It is said that he wanted to extend the daylight scenes, but didn’t get around to it before his death in 1953.

REP has assembled a top cast for a feast  of acting—Duncan Driver, Graham Robertson, Geoffrey Borny, Alice Ferguson, Sian Harrington, Peter Holland, Terry Johnson, David McNamara, Erin Pugh, Steph Roberts, and Adele Lewin.

Under Milk Wood at Theatre 3, 3 Repertory Lane, Acton, April 11 to 27, bookings to 6257 1950.

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