Thursday, April 02, 2009

Guy Masterson at the Cramphorn

The stage is empty, save for a simple wooden chair; would not look out of place in Bethesda Chapel, or beside an old Welsh dresser.

To begin at the beginning, a man in pyjamas, from the drawer marked pyjamas, stands on the chair, and for the next two hours he conjures the sights and sounds of the small Welsh town, Llareggub, in Dylan Thomas’s classic play for voices, directed for the stage by Tony Boncza.

This is pure theatre gold. Guy Masterson, never missing a beat of the richly rhythmic verse, becomes a mole, a cat, a baby, a sea-bed wreck, a flock of gulls, as well as the sixty-nine characters whose lives unfold before us.

He is a 50s travelogue, Lily Smalls in the mirror, the Cherry Owens [ the only contented couple, though he reels home drunk as a deacon and snores the night through ], PC Attila Rees, Sinbad Sailors pulling his Guinness, and Polly Garter singing as she scrubs the floor. The draper and the kissing games are priceless, too.

The lighting and the music/effects track [Matt Clifford] play their part, but it is the sheer force of Masterson’s performance that makes the show, now in its 15th year, such a triumph.

It must be exhausting for the jet-lagged actor – he needs two pints just to replace the fluid lost to the sweat of his brow – but he emerges, showered and fresh, to meet his fans and sign CDs.

"To begin at the beginning ..." from the CD


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