[2007005] Fern Hill

Fern Hill (FringeTIX)

Guy Masterton @ Holden Street Theatres (The Studio)

11:00am, Wed 7 Mar 2007

After seeing Under Milk Wood in 2006, I felt compelled to see more of Guy Masterson’s work. So this presentation of Dylan Thomas’ lesser-known works – or, as Masterson put it, “the not-Milk Wood Thomas” – afforded me the opportunity to see the man/men at work again.

As per previous efforts, Masterson recites Thomas’ works with boundless energy, roaming the stage with swoops and sweeps, his face alive with obvious gleeful appreciation. He covers around ten pieces, each displaying Thomas’ evocative style – but the words are just an outline for the performance; Masterson adds gobs of colour with his oration, texture with gesticulation. Genuinely remorseful for Thomas’ death, Masterson makes the poems his own.

But what really made this performance for me was the casual nature of the performance. Dressed in dark board-shorts and a t-shirt, Masterson intersperses witty asides to the audience with the poems; a true gem was his comparison of various renditions of Under Milk Wood, successfully aping Richard Burton, Anthony Hopkins and even Dylan Thomas himself.

In short: brilliant. See it. Go on, there’s a FringeTIX link up there; click it!

(A super-duper added bonus for me, of course, was listening to a bunch of first-year TAFE students pontificate about the performance afterwards. “He was oooooooookay – not as good as I thought he’d be, though. I mean, what’s with the one-man-show?”)

(It’s also worth noting that this is a much better venue for Under Milk Wood – much more intimate than the cavernous Union Hall. If you didn’t catch UMW last year, give that a go as well.)

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