Under Milk Wood

by Dylan Thomas

6th – 9th November 2002

Under Milk Wood is an evocation of a Welsh town-that-never-was from midnight to midnight. We meet a varied host of larger than life characters, grotesque, comic and sad, share their dreams,observe their daytime activities and eavesdrop on their inner feelings.

Although originally written for radio, and described as ‘a play for voices’, this play has been produced for the stage in many versions. We hope that our interpretation will provide our audience with a unique theatrical experience.

milkwood prog

The Cast

Narrator: Eric Saxton
Captain Cat: Robertson Bell
1st Drowned: Ian Hickling
2nd Drowned: Nick Roberts
Rosie Probert: Cathy Jenkins
3rd Drowned: Peter Whitworth
4th Drowned: Michael Sheperia
5th Drowned: H Connolly
Mr Mog Edwards: Spencer Howells
Miss Myfanwy Price: Kathy Howells
Jack Black: David Smith
Waldo’s Mother: Jasmine Gartshore
Little Boy Waldo: H Connolly
Waldo’s Wife: Elizabeth Saxton
Mr Waldo: Dave Hawkins
1st Neighbour: Mary Warrington
2nd Neighbour: Enid Farr
3rd Neighbour: Tracey Pearce
4th Neighbour: Faye McGeehin
5th Neighbour: Jackie Woodland
Matti Richards: Becky Palmer
Rev Eli Jenkins: Paul Shave
Mrs Ogmore-Pritchard: Sheila Benton-Jones
Mr Ogmore: Michael Sheperia
Mr Pritchard: Nick Roberts
Gossamer Beynon: Clancy Hutchins
Organ Morgan: Dave Hawkins
Utah Watkins: Ian Hickling
Mrs Utah Watkins: Becky Palmer
Ocky Milkman: Peter Whitworth
Cherry Owen: Phil Prior
P.C. Attila Rees: Robertson Bell
Mrs Willy Nilly: Enid Farr
Willy Nilly: Nick Roberts
Sinbad Sailors: H Connolly
Lily Smalls: Becky Palmer
Mae Rose Cottage: Holly Seager
Bessie Bighead: Jasmine Gartshore
Butcher Beynon: Mark Bailey
Mr Pugh: Mike Long
Mrs Organ Morgan: Sheila Benton-Jones
Mary Ann Sailors: Cathy Jenkins
Dai Bread: Mark Bailey
Polly Garter: Tracey Pearce
Nogood Boyo: Phil Prior
Lord Cut-Glass: Peter Whitworth
Guide: Elizabeth Saxton
Mrs Beynon: Enid Farr
Mrs Pugh: Elizabeth Saxton
Mrs Dai Bread One: Jasmine Gartshore
Mrs Dai Bread Two: Mary Warrington
Mrs Cherry Owen: Faye McGeehin
Old Man: Michael Sheperia
Children: Michael Sheperia, Jasmine Gartshore, Phil Prior, Tracey Pearce, Clancy Hutchins, Becky Palmer, Mark Bailey, Enid Farr
Gwennie: Holly Seager
1st Woman: Mary Warrington
2nd woman: Enid Farr
3rd Woman: Cathy Jenkins
4th Woman: Faye McGeehin
Evans the Death: David Smith
Fishermen: Ian Hickling / Mike Long
With the voices of the Ilsleys Primary School Choir directed by Helen Pearce: Katie Beake, Pippy Wiseman, Charlotte Osborne, Nicole Philpots, Kirsten Hunter, Katie Waller, Esme Benson and Max Benson

Produced by Eric Saxton

Newbury Weekly News review

New ‘take’ on a classic

“The Compton Players are always seeking to try something new”, we were told in the programme, and full credit to them for courage in presenting the stage version of this play. For the first time they were using masks (made by the company, I understand) and presenting musical numbers, and both worked extremely well. Polly Garter’s unaccompanied lament was convincingly sung.

The masks, most half-faced, enabled the players to change characters effortlessly, and gave credence to the less-than-natural or, rather, more-than-natural, Dylan Thomas poetical prose.

The play was originally written for radio and is still a play for the ear. Ideally, that beautiful prose, full of imaginative and exhilarating adjectives, adverbs, similes and metaphors, should be listened to without the distraction of movement on stage. Sometimes I closed my eyes, just to hear the poetry and find my own mind-pictures. It meant that the slightest hesitation or ‘fluffing’ (though there were very few instances) caused interruption and irritation.

Narrator Eric Saxton had a formidable task as he walked through the auditorium, painting word pictures and introducing us to the fishing village and people of Milk Wood at dead of night. ‘Dead’ was the opening scene, with floating fluorescent skeletons of the drowned in conversation with still-living Captain Cat.

We then met more than 50 villagers and a gang of children. To my inexpert ear, all spoke with credible Welsh accents that neither protruded nor jarred. We also heard the voices of the Ilsleys’ Primary School choir directed by Helen Pearce (decidedly without Welsh accents!)

Great acting was not called for, and of course, there was less facial expression under the masks, but representation of all the characters was excellent, with one or two I specially liked, such as the young girl demanding a kiss or a penny. There was no jostling as they came and went, sometimes at speed, across the small stage, and the pace was maintained, especially I thought in the second half, though it may be that I had adjusted to the concept by that time.
The set worked well with its different levels which overran into the auditorium, and a backdrop that looked at the sea through a large porthole. Lighting and costumes were well executed.

Their loyal audience, representing many surrounding villages, seemed well-satisfied.


Dave Hawkins’ cartoon

Dave Hawkins' cartoon