26 July 2015


I'm not really up to poetry and Dylan Thomas after a long day of two orchestral rehearsals. Nonetheless, I enjoy the imagination that combines recounted actors with unconventional actions and the alliteration and word play. It's pretty and playful. And the down-to-earth ordinariness of the characters as they go about their tasks and talk together. There's humanity in this ordinariness in this mid-C20th Welsh society that we a losing with all our efficiency and modernity and the rest. He's from Swansea and there's talk of that place, a seaside town with castle and cobblestones. We can visit from a distance now, with Street view, but it's pedestrian that way, with the blurred faces that are again, nothing like DT and his explorations. There's recited poetry and apparently text from a DT visit on a US lecture tour. We all recognise "Do not go gentle into that good night / Old age should burn and rave at close of day / Rage, rage against the dying of the light" and it's a transparently great but I particularly liked the images of people, the crossing of paths, social levels encountering over a pint. Bob Kingston presented this one-person one-act show that's travelled the world and passed through Street One. I guess he's close to the original, being from nearby Cardiff, in look and voice. Close enough for two DTs, perhaps, with stories of notorious drinking and disputes and accidents. It must have been close enough; someone over my right shoulder kept confirming it with a frequent "yes" to some statement or other. Amusing. Colourful language and colourful character presented with the most defined and refined of voices. I enjoyed the clarity of final letters, -t on night or light and even a trailing pair of -f-t on lift. We are slovenly in that aspect. It's just another factor that had me thinking this is out of time. Our greatness isn't so humane, being more a matter of law and logic than blood and babble. Listen to DT1 from DT2 and bask in the extraordinary depth of the commonplace spoken with colour, while we, more rationally, pursue free trade agreements and tax avoidance and comprehensive surveillance with bloodless bureaucratese.

Bob Kingdom (actor) channelled the poet in Dylan Thomas : Return journey at the Street Theatre.

  • Thanks to Wikicommons for the portrait of Dylan Thomas (1935) by Jessica Dismorr
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