Under Milk Wood is a window to one day in the life of a small Welsh village.
So it is both clever and appropriate that Southwick Players make windows a key feature of their production of the Dylan Thomas classic at the Barn Theatre, Southwick, this week.
The impressive set has various two-storey buildings, with some carefully-crafted details in the roof lines, and include a cobbled street that extends right down to a lovely stone wall, illustrating the quay, at the front of the stage.
Different people appear out of the doors and through the windows throughout the play and with a cast of 15 – and a character list much longer – that is an awful lot to co-ordinate.
The timing is crucial as often the characters needed to finish speaking as they are walking off, and everyone has it spot on.
It is a play about voices and, physically, the welsh accents are impressive, never feeling forced, something of which Thomas himself would be rightly proud.
It is also a play about nothing and everything, the hopes and dreams of the villagers. It is only one day in their life but we learn a lot about them in that time.
The narrator is a crucial guide and director Harry Atkinson’s decision to divide that role between four people works really well. Tobias Clay, Nikki Dunsford, Carrie Lambe and Stuart Smithers each bring a slightly different tone to the part and with each of the other actors playing three or four parts, it somehow makes a lot of sense for the one part to be played by four actors.
It obviously is impossible to have a different house for each villager or family involved but I think it would help if each character always came out of the same house. Perhaps the idea is to keep it all fluid so you see it all as a much bigger village but with so much going on and so many people involved, it might add clarity.
Ron Common, for example, is a drunkard one minute, a postmen the next, while Tracey Bates goes from the po-faced Mrs Pugh to siren-like Mrs Dai Bread Two.
A number of the characters are ghosts or memories of times gone by, like the drowned sailors that Captain Cat, played by Peter Jukes, cannot forget.
Overall there is a sense of being trapped in a world that will not change and the knowledge that dreams will not come true, even when they are shared. It is a difficult play to get right but the Players do a very good job.
Under Milk Woods is on at the Barn Theatre tonight and tomorrow at 7.30pm. Tickets £11 from the box office on 01273 597094 or online at southwickplayers.org.uk
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make our website your homepage at www.shorehamherald.co.uk
2 Like our Facebook page at Shoreham Herald Facebook
3 Follow us on Twitter @Shoreham_Herald
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!
The Shoreham Herald - always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.