REVIEW: Dylan Thomas: Return Journey Brewery Theatre 9/10 by Lee Callaway
PRESENTED very simply, the play takes the form of one of Dylan Thomas' lectures, evenings that the poet had resorted to make moneyrought him international attention. Standing behind a lectern, Bob Kingdom, as Thomas, alternates between reading his selected works with reminiscences about his childhood.
In one particularly extended and entertaining anecdote, we hear the story of an outing Thomas took when he was very young with his uncle and friends. It was little more than a pub crawl and seems more important than just its contents, and nods to the early beginnings of Thomas' lifelong love affair with alcohol. Later in the play, autobiographical details are fused with poetry and the link between the two is inextricable, and rather than simple readings of the work, they seem to burst forth from within, as if spurred on by memory.
Kingdom is perhaps now a little too old to play Thomas (who died at 39), but that's almost an irrelevance compared to the quality of the performance. He brings a sleepy eyed, dry wit to the play which makes for a hugely entertaining, engaging and often funny centrepiece to the production.
A figure as complicated as Dylan Thomas is difficult to capture, but in the simplicity of its form and the skill in its execution, Return Journey does precisely that, with brilliance and profundity.
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