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Under Milk Wood - The final, raw, blog. We did it!

Posted by Nick Hennegan on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 Under: Nick Hennegan
Or at least the final blog of this particular production. What can I say! We’ve just finished and I’ve just got back from the last night.  And the consumption of a few drinks with the cast makes this not the best time to write this, perhaps! But it became a big deal for me. As you may have gathered from the previous blogs, I had a number of concerns with this production. Although small in scale it was large in ambition and my first toe in the West End water.  I only actually got to watch the show once myself - because after the dress rehearsal we sold out! Director Katie Merritt did a great job in a very short time. We had some exceptionally talented cast members, especially bearing in mind we were all doing it for no money. Or at least we were supposed to. Fortunately, so many people turned up we were able to pay all the costs, help Maverick and pay everyone some expenses.


                                                                "We Few, We Happy, Milk Wood Few..."

But the real return on this, for me anyway, was more emotional. To feel so close to Dylan Thomas, to welcome world-class artists like Cerys Matthews and her family into our little cramped space above the pub, the kindness and professionalism of the pub staff, the real warmth and appreciation of the audiences, the dedication of the cast and the general willingness of everyone to help out.  It felt like a community. This was a play that became an event and it was so much bigger than the sum of its parts. 

I loved working out with Katie how we were going to make this play work - how we were going to have a female First Voice - everyone naturally thinks of Richard Burton - and how we should spin the story in the style of Shakespeare's ‘Chorus'; how as a play for voices we were going to make it all work without theatrical lights or sound effects. And then how Pretty Polly's song made numerous members of the audience cry!

And on the final performance today the Dylan Thomas Society came to us after a wreath-laying ceremony at Westminster Abbey.  They know every word of ‘Under Milk Wood’ which makes their praise for how we did it even more genuine and touching.

Our production was in so many ways raw and emotional. It was completely 'Maverick Theatre' in its execution.  In a brutal, commercial world we - artists and audiences all - came together in a little pub in London where Dylan met his wife, to share his passing.  The passing of a great writer. Nothing more, but certainly nothing less.  It was special. It's so why I got into this business.  And perhaps the greatest praise finally came from Cerys Matthews. The Welsh former singer and writer from Catatonia, BBC dj, judge of the Dylan Thomas Prize and general culture vulture, tweeted the actors after the show, "You did Dylan proud!"  And my eyes grew as misty as a Welsh valley…!

In : Nick Hennegan 


Tags: catatonia  bbc  dj  cerys matthews  wales  singers  pubs  theatre  dylan thomas  westminster abbey. 
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About Us


Nick Hennegan Hello. I'm Nick Hennegan and I started the London Literary Pub Crawl. Most of the blogs on here will be by me. I've always written but my first theatrical success was an adaptation of Shakespeare's 'Henry V' (www.HenryVPlay.com) I founded Maverick Theatre in 1994. (www.MaverickTheatre.co.uk) This pub crawl is really more a promenade theatre performance than a tour and I'm running it with a bunch of enthusiastic local actors and writers. I love sharing my passion for the area and the artists. I also present a radio show on Resonance 104.4fm - London's Arts Station and a podcast on our site. If you haven't visited us in London yet, I hope you'll come soon. And feel free to leave comments or email me at nick @ LondonLiteraryPubCrawl.com - I reply to them all and I love to hear from you.

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