Directed by Sir Anthony Hopkins and starring Bob Kingdom as Dylan Thomas, Dylan Thomas Return Journey is an interpretation of the lectures given by the poet in the latter stages of his life. The production sees some of Thomas’ moving poetry interspersed with hilarious anecdotes and little ‘asides’ by the poet – a personal favourite being his words on T.S Eliot, ‘whose name, by the way, almost spells ‘toilets’ backwards.’ The humour of Hopkins’ work owes itself largely to the brilliance of Kingdom’s acting, which undoubtedly deserves the international acclaim it has already received. Indeed, the fact that Kingdom can remember 1½ hours' worth of lines is impressive in itself; the conviction of his performance is enough to leave one speechless. At one moment the small – but lucky – audience is chuckling loudly to Kingdom’s varying accents and facial contortions, the next sat still in stunned silence at the power of Kingdom’s delivery of Thomas’ poetry (‘Lament’ and ‘Do Not Go Gentle in that Good Night’ particularly come to mind).
The use of lighting is extremely effective, dimming suddenly and focussing on Kingdom’s face as he speaks his poetry, adding to the dramatic atmosphere, before reverting back to full glare as Kingdom starts one of his witty stories. The actor’s voice, meanwhile, holds an extraordinary command over the audience and, after Kingdom finally utters his concluding words before the final dropping of the lights, I leave feeling as though I have just been graced by the presence of the great poet himself. Go see it!
Chrissie Dreier (DI Reviewer), 22/03/07
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