Dylan Thomas’ play for voices gets the visual treatment from Welsh director Kevin Allen, who re-enlists his old Twin Town star Rhys Ifans to deliver the sonorous poetry and embody the all-seeing blind seadog Captain Cat (you’d have though NoGood Boyo would be more his role, but there you are).
Under Milk Wood*** is the story of a seaside town on the slopes of Llareggub (famously, ‘bugger all’ backwards), this production had a fairy-book quality and folkloric, naif style that results in something like a Chagall painting mixed with Beryl Cook.
I liked its jazzy incantation of Thomas’ beautiful words and Ifans delivers them with relish in his cadence, rolling and savouring the lines in a style through which you can practically feel the nationalistic pride. Charlotte Church sashays along the streets to deliver a couple of sweet songs and, while not all the characters spring to such colourful life in the performance, the retro, saucy seaside production design mostly keeps up with Thomas’ unbeatable descriptions.
The Welsh-language version, which was shot simultaneously, has made it to the Foreign Language Oscar long list and I wish it all the luck.