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Dylan Thomas: Return Journey (Bristol)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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See this show. One talented man, a helluva lot of wit and poetry in his head, and as an unfailing sense of showmanship as (I like to think) had Dylan Thomas himself.

Space forbids me from too much retelling, but suffice it to say we leap effortlessly from tales of blind inebriation and vomiting over the neighbours in the parlour (“you could say I exhaled with enthusiasm”) to the intensity of “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” as Thomas exhorted his father not to die.

Bob Kingdom is on his last tour with this cracker of a piece, combining the prose and poetry of Thomas as though he were a man possessed. The too-few decades of Thomas’s own life skip past us, it seems, as the poet’s own words - often nostalgic for days now falling far from our own reach - combine with Kingdom’s colossal ability, to present a wholly entrancing, credible and utterly beguiling facsimile of the man.

Originally directed by Anthony Hopkins, this format reminds you of the old-fashioned recitals of my grandparents’ days: one man, a stage, some lights. An evening I’d once have run from. But without a doubt, you will leave this show wrapped in a little bit of magic, a little bit in love and with a great deal of admiration.


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