Live On Stage Stage

Under Milk Wood

Under Milk Wood
16 July 2021
National Theatre
4.5 out of 5.0 stars

After having caught the flu just a few days before I was due to attend Under Milk Wood, I thought I would miss this sold out production, but I kept an eye on returns and managed to snag a seat just two weeks after my original seat was booked! This was also my first peek at the remodelled Olivier theatre, which is now arranged in the round with seats at the back where the backdrops of the stage used to be.

I happened to have a seat on the back of the stage, but with everything arranged the way it was, it didn’t feel like an inferior seat. The actors did take great care to have action happening all around the stage so no one in the audience was left out.

Of course Under Milk Wood is a classic of literature, with a host of intense characters and their everyday lives. This production sets the scene in a retirement home, where fading minds are tended to lovingly, until the son of one of the inhabitants arrives and causes a minor disturbance. He is advised to try to get through to his ageing father by reminiscing about old memories of days gone by. Leafing through an old photo album, we get the first glimpse at some of the well known characters, which quickly spirals into the exposition of the jealous, drunk, scandalous lives of the people in the fictional Welsh town of Llareggub.

A whirlwind of gossip and emotions erupts as the retirement home inhabitants morph into a host of characters, whirling across the stage and engulfing the audience in their tales, narrated by Michael Sheen with ferocity and fervour. What a gorgeous experience this was, I loved every second of this new production!

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