Review: Under Milk Wood

Under Milk Wood; 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; $10. The Forgotten Theatre Company, at Thistle Dew Dessert Theatre, 1901 P Street; (916) 457-6286; Through July 22.
Rated 5.0

Dylan Thomas’ 1954 radio “play for voices,” turned into a simply staged play, is the Welsh equivalent of Thornton Wilder’s 1938 classic, Our Town. Both reveal the lives of residents of a fictional town in a way that emphasizes our shared humanity.

But Under Milk Wood is funnier—very funny—and satirical. Among the inhabitants of Llareggub (spell it backward) are Mrs. Ogmore-Pritchard, the twice-widowed neat-freak owner of a guesthouse who refuses to rent her rooms for fear of germs and dirt; Organ Morgan, the church organist whose obsession with music torments his wife; and Mr. Pugh, the schoolteacher who dreams of poisoning his wife— he bought a book, The Lives of the Great Poisoners, for tips.

The play spans 24 hours, opening at night, when, the First Voice narrator (the excellent Erin Renfree) tells us that we are witnessing the townspeople’s dreams. And what dreams they are.

A talented cast of nine—Renfree, Phil Ryder (who also directs), Elizabeth Anne Springett, Maurice T. Williams, Dona Akers, Jesse Akers, Linda Taylor, Monica Vejar and Mitch Thompson—portrays three dozen characters in a play that has the cadences and rhythms of the Welsh language and the soul of a poet.