Venue. January 2011. Rina Vergano. 4 stars.

Splice's lively theatrical staging of Dylan Thomas's celebrated play for voices opens to the strains of Dusty Springfield's 'I Only Wanna Be With You', and when someone holds up a notice saying APPLAUSE, we realise that we are the captive studio audience at a live radio broadcast set in the mid-60s. Two seasoned radio actors - one male, one female - are about to play the entire population (plus ghosts) of Llareggub, from slow sundown of one day to nightfall of the next. But what is going on with young Miss Betty Foley? She seems a little tired and emotional (is that a gin bottle in her hand? No, never!) and her sound effects are becoming ... well ... a tiny bit creative. But despite (or possibly because of) Betty, our two performers rise to the occasion and deliver a rollicking rendition of this timeless classic:


Bob Gwilym reaches deep into his bible-black bag of voices to conjure the variously drunken, amorous, hen-pecked and addled living and long-dead boyos (and the odd fishwife) of Llareggub, in warm sonorous tones that would melt the snow off a Welsh hillside in mid-winter, whilst the wonderfully retro, dumpling-breasted, dimple-cheeked Kerry Joy Stewart chews each delicious word like treacle toffee and spits it out with a comic timing that pings, ticks, chimes and tocks.

If you already love 'UMW' and want to hear it anew (or if you just love the English language), and you want to hear sounds you've only dreamed of (like a wet dolly being slapped rhythmically in a tin bath), this show is live on stage, especially for you.


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