Under Milk Wood with Michael Sheen

I don’t know if this is of any interest to anyone, but I found out yesterday that the National Theatre production of Under Milk Wood, with Michael Sheen as the First Voice, is available to rent on their website for £7.99: Under Milk Wood: Full play - National Theatre at Home.

I think the production is from 2021, but AFAIK the online version has only recently become available. It’s the original English version, of course.

I watched it last night and I really enjoyed it (but Under Milk Wood is one of my favourite pieces of literature). It’s a pleasure to watch (and hear!) Michael Sheen put his stamp on the Richard Burton / Anthony Hopkins tradition… and it’s got Siân Philips in it, as Polly Garter!

If you know the text, be aware that the first few minutes of this production are the director’s own ‘framing device’, but after that the text is as Dylan Thomas wrote until the last couple of minutes.
Here’s a trailer:


Do you need a subscription to the National Theatre website? It’s showing me that I can rent it for £7.99 for 3 days, but then it says that I need an account to access it.

National Theatre at Home (ntathome.com)

No, you don’t need to subscribe – or at least, I didn’t last night.

You have to create the account so you can download/watch the video you’re renting. Once you’ve created the account, you carry on to pay for this rental, but this doesn’t commit you to the subscription. (I found this a bit confusing as well!)

The rented video is available for 30 days (ish) from the moment you pay, but once you’ve started watching, you have to watch it within 3 days of starting – you can watch as many times as you like within those 3 days though.

What I don’t know is whether there are any restrictions on viewing from outside the UK, but there is a help page which says that they’ll charge the local rate of VAT – and Spain is one of those countries, so I assume it will be OK…Help - National Theatre at Home


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That sounds good. I have to confess that I’ve never actually seen Under Milk Wood - always meant to, but somehow never got around to it. Watching Micheal Sheen in that trailer was brilliant though. I’ll have to plan a time when I know I’ll be able to relax and watch it - possibly several times over the 3 days! The English is beautiful!

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I’ve listened to the radio play(s) a few times over the years, but this is only the second time I’ve seen it. It’s quite difficult to stage… The first time was at Theatr Clwyd in Mold about 20 years ago – a completely different production, but equally well done.

As you say, the English is wonderful: that beginning, with

the hunched, courters’-and-rabbits’ wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboatbobbing sea.

is just sublime…

I don’t know if you know, but the full text of the play is available online at Under Milk Wood.

I hope you enjoy Michael Sheen’s version!

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Although I love the recording of the Burton version, this Sheen performance is brilliant. Quite extraordinary.

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Isn’t it just?

Have you had a chance to see the whole play, or just the trailer?

I won’t give spoilers, in case people haven’t, but the production has a ‘framing device’ – about ten minutes setting a background before Sheen starts Dylan Thomas’s actual text.

For those first few minutes, you can sense the audience (and me) wondering when the text we know is going to start. Once Sheen has started (when the trailer starts), then the framing device makes sense. And Sheen is brilliant, as you say, but there are some great performances from the supporting cast, Siân Philips amongst them, of course.

I loved it.

Anyway, what is it about Port Talbot that produces great Welsh actors – Richard Burton, Anthony Hopkins and now Michael Sheen…

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Lot of actors in Port Talbot? :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

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