Monday, 13 October 2008


RMIT Kaleide Theatre, Swanston Street.

Dylan Thomas' play Llareggub (often referred to by its US title Under Milk Wood) is a patchwork of voices floating on the ether, as we imagine ourselves drifting through the minds of the inhabitants of the eponymous village.

While this makes it perfect fodder for radio (its intended medium) it's very difficult to translate effectively to the stage. But the recent RMIT production faces this challenge with some success.

In a very engaging production the setting is one of organised chaos, with all actors on the stage at all times. This seems to be an attempt, mostly successful, to recreate the wafting movement of sound implied in the radio play, by constantly having the eyes of the audience moving in circles to follow who is speaking.

While this was fine, some of the technical limitations were distracting, such as characters passing around the few hand-held microphones. Also distracting was the wide variety of accents on display (some of them somewhat impenetrable) and, as can be expected in a student production with this number of speaking parts, the range of the performers' abilities.

Overall though it was very enjoyable, with particular standouts being Samantha Bond as the harridan Mrs Ogmore-Pritchard and Sam Sejavka as the Reverend, who, amidst many other competent but mannered performances, managed to take the play into the surreal places it's supposed to go.

3.5 out of 5
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