Under Milk Wood

By Dylan Thomas, directed by Philip de Glanville

13th – 14th July 2013

We hope we did full justice to Dylan Thomas’s masterwork with a ‘community-style’ outdoor production in the ECOS amphitheatre as part of the Frome Festival. Casting every character in the village of Llareggub, with very little recourse to doubling, involved almost every actor in the Club and quite a few more besides, which boosted our membership considerably. We had 44 adults and 10 children on stage in the end, not to mention two goats!

Laurie Parnell played First Voice – not only demonstrating extraordinary feats of memory, but giving a spell-binding performance as the author himself – and Second Voice was performed by the rest of the cast, moving in unison and speaking in groups like a Greek Chorus. This involved an enormous amount of rehearsal, but the teamwork it engendered was heart-warming and has given us all lasting memories.

The weekend of the two performances, which sold extraordinarily well, was undoubtedly the hottest of the year. Pressures of the Festival meant we had to perform in the mid-afternoon, and having had two of the cast collapsing in the heat, and with a packed audience desperate for shade, we moved the production into the relative coolness of the Merlin for the second half, in working light and with all the doors open. It was a bit of a squeeze for everyone, but the audience roared its approval at the end, and our Phoebe Rees adjudication described the production as “a courageous and exciting choice, with a company that showed real dedication”.