A classic BBC Radio full-cast production of Dylan Thomas' poetic play for voices starring Richard Burton as the narrator. To begin at the beginning: it is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black....
When Richard Burton breathed the opening words of Under Milk Wood into a microphone, broadcasting history was made. For this ‘play for voices’ conjures up the intimate dreams and waking lives of the inhabitants of a Welsh seaside village in a remarkable way. It is bawdy and beautiful; its colourful characters lust and love, gossip and fantasise. Through the magic of language, 'Under Milk Wood' creates a rich modern pastoral which, once heard, touches the listener with its poetry and haunts the imagination for ever. This radio drama is the completed version broadcast in 1963, which includes several passages that were omitted from the first recording in 1954.
©2001 BBC Worldwide (P)2001 BBC Worldwide
I was thrilled to find Under Milkwood; I've loved its sly ribald barbs, and to hear Richard Burton's declamation and Welsh accent was a treat. This production with its multiple actors is also easier to follow than Dylan Thomas's own solo performance.
Like so many celebrities today, Thomas died in his late 30's, from the combination of alcohol and narcotics from a Dr. Feelgood who neglected Thomas's pneumonia during a New York performance tour of Under Milkwood.
Thomas's radio-play is a poetic masterpiece from the mid-20th century, literally meant to be spoken aloud, and now to be 're-wound' to enjoy the wordplay.
It is a stream-of-consciousness eavesdropping on the dreams, secrets and gossip of a night and day in a entire Welsh village, petty vices and great passions peeking through their conservative veneer. And who among us on such a night has not been stirred by spring 'like a spoon', or dreamt of their lover, 'whacking-thighed and piping hot'.
'And Lily Smalls is up to Nogood Boyo in the wash-house.'
'And Cherry Owen, sober as Sunday as he is every day of the week, goes off happy as Saturday to get drunk as a deacon as he does every night. 'I always say she's got two husbands,' Cherry Owen says, 'one drunk and one sober. And Mrs Cherry simply says, 'And aren't I a lucky woman? Because I love them both.''
Over lunch, the schoolmaster researches how to poison his wife, pretending to the read 'Lives of the Great Saints'. His intended victim sniffs, "I saw you talking to a saint this morning. Saint Polly Garter. She was martyred again last night. Mrs Organ Morgan saw her with Mr Waldo."
"But it is not his name that Polly Garter whispers as she lies under the oak and loves him back. Six feet deep that name sings in the cold earth."
Dated, yes, but an often overlooked classic, read by one of the greatest British poetic actors, with today's technology: a treat indeed. For less than $10, one of these characters will make you laugh or cry.
Eclectic mixer of books of my youth and ones I always meant to read, but didn't.
It is difficult for me to think of a better version of this wonderful piece of verse (A Play for Voices). It begins at the beginning, with Dylan Thomas' fantastic ear and his fisheye for detail; and then continues on with the soothingly lyrical tones of Richard Burton, as only he can sound. It concludes with a whimsical quip, leaving the listener ever longing for just one more verse of all those lovely voices.
I first listened to this as a young boy on long drives to the beach, marvelling at the words and the voices that match so perfectly. It still conjures up for me those times and brings a smile or a frown, as if on cue. It is a little piece of heaven to be treasured. I would give it a perfect score, but alas, the technology cannot impose what the original had not; and perhaps, that's the way it should be. I can almost here Van Morrison, that more recent Gaelic poet, crooning just that!
This is from a BBC radio presentation. Ah! Dylan Thomas writes about a frosty snow covered night in a Welsh village as its inhabitants settle in for sleep. Richard Burton is wonderful along with the rest of the cast. A treat!
"Under Milk Wood"
Once heard never forgotten..it can't be bettered it haunts your memory and evokes a long-departed era that our modern times have left far behind us...Burton never was better than this..how I miss his voice..BBC at its very best.
"Excellent listen .Fantastic narration by Burton .
Loved it and will listen to it many times. In fact I have all ready.
"Hasn't aged a bit!"
Under Milk Wood is deservedly famous as a piece of writing and although I had not heard this audio recording before, I had heard of it. Richard Burton's narration is wonderfully atmospheric throughout and I love the way the character voices are integrated into the whole work, especially where they speak over each other. The children's singing is a great touch. From the initial idea of a quaint Welsh village, Under Milk Wood gets darker and more poignant and I think this vintage BBC radio programme is probably the definitive recording. Audio doesn't get much better than this.
"One of the greatest radio plays of all time!"
Quite simply to hear the majestic tones of Richard Burton's voice. Uttering the words of one of the all time greatest writers is pure magic.
Burton's narration is incredible. Whenever I read Under Milk Wood or see it live on stage. I cannot help but hear Richard Burtons voice.
Just listen to this with your eyes closed and allow Dylan Thomas and Richard Burton to transport you to Welsh dreamland.
"excellent welsh story"
as a kid this was one of the first stories that I remember being read to me, when I was older I managed to get it on tape, and I kept playing it as the characters intrigued me so much could not get enough of it not matter how often I listened to it, but over the year the tape wore out and I forgot everything about it until I joined Amazon and started using Kindle then I joined Audible what a great area to have books that you can listen to, guess what the first thing I bought was Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas I could not believe it when I downloaded and started to listen to it especially as it was narrated by Richard Burton with that strong voice and the lilt of the Welsh you felt you were in the place and watching and listening to the characters and you felt that you could actually see the place the way it was described even though no place exists, It is a lovely tale well read and told, i feel that all you listen to this and forget the world as it is and enjoy the story
if you ever want to drift away and let your imagination run away listen to the one and old Richard Burton
"Dylan Thomas at his best, Masterful performance by Richard Burton"
I first saw Under Milk Wood performed at the Belgrade Theater in Coventry, in about 1962. When I bought this version, all those characters I first heard, way back then, came bursting back to life. This is a truly brilliant performance by all the cast, and one which I treasure.
'Under Milkwood' is actually why I first decided to get into audiobooks, having heard an old cassette of this as a child. Memory did not disappoint. Richard Burton captivates. Dylan Thomas is wonderful. Try it if for no other reason than to listen to the music of the Welsh voice- 'Orrrgan Morrrgan'. Delicious!
Laughing at Nicola's 'review' above - betraying her ignorance and then giving one of the greatest works of 20th century verse a one star review because it turned out to be... who would have thought it... poetry.
I listen to snippets of this probably every day. The beginning, in Burton's extraordinary Welsh tones, get me every time - 'it is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible black'. Funny, sad, and beautifully read and acted throughout. Sensational.
this the most amazing performance of an amazing play. timeless and profound. have listened to this often since young i am now 40 and hope to enjoy it many times more
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.