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Under Milk Wood (2003 Production) (BBC Audio) [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Dylan Thomas
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

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Book Description

12 Jun 2008 BBC Audio
Richard Burton's voice has been digitally remastered and seamlessly mixed with an all-Welsh cast to create a magical, fresh visit to the unique but universal world of Llareggub. Richard Burton's inimitable narration as First Voice in the BBC's 1963 recording of Under Milk Wood was hugely acclaimed. In this 2003 production, the famous radio play has been given a fresh lease of life. Richard Burton's unforgettable performance joins a celebrated all-Welsh cast in a highly-acclaimed dramatisation of this classic 'play for voices'. Touching, eerie and very funny, the play tells the story of a day in the life of the inhabitants of a small Welsh seaside town, their dreams and routines, their loves and regrets, their hopes and fears. With characters and phrases that have entered daily parlance, the play opens with 'To begin at the beginning' and features such much-loved characters as No Good Boyo, Lilly Smalls, Polly Garter, Organ Morgan and Captain Cat. Among the all-Welsh cast are Sian Phillips, Matthew Rhys and Glyn Houston, as well as a special guest appearance by John Humphrys. With an entrancing new musical score by John Hardy, this is set to become the classic version of a spellbinding play.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: BBC Audiobooks Ltd (12 Jun 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408400537
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408400531
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 12.4 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 443,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

The definitive edition of one of Dylan Thomas's most famous works. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Dylan Thomas was born in Swansea on 27 October 1914, the son of a senior English master. On leaving school he worked on the South Wales Evening Post before embarking on his literary career in London. Not only a poet, he wrote short stories, film scripts, features and radio plays, the most famous being Under Milk Wood. On 9 November 1953, shortly after his thirty-ninth birthday, he collapsed and died in New York city. He is buried in Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, which had become his main home since 1949. In 1982 a memorial stone to commemorate him was unveiled in 'Poet's Corner' in Westminster Abbey. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful 16 Sep 2008
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful recording. Richard Burton's 1963 recording added seamlessly into a new, 2003, production. His 1963 narration is so well known that any other voice wouldn't seem right. I like the discrete background sound-effects as well.
It's a recording you can listen to many times, discovering new phrases each time.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More is less 20 April 2010
Format:Audio CD
I debated whether this should rank 2 or 3 stars and in the end settled on 2. Some may be puzzled how I could possibly rate the Richard Burton recording of Under Milk Wood as only 2 stars? The honest answer is that I don't, I rate it 5 stars, it's this recording/remix that I think deserves only 2.

The original version was beautiful (I've only ever heard the 1963 version though many say that the 1954 version was better so I've just bought it for myself to find out). I've listened to it so many times I've lost count and every time something new sneaks out and surprises you - little nuances, wordplay, tone, you get something new on every listen, and on every listen I'm transported to another place, I can see the people, the streets, the houses, the rooms in the houses, everything - a truly magical piece of work.

This new version takes the original Richard Burton reading and melds it with a new cast and some remixing. I've nothing against that in principle; I just don't think it's been very well done. The performances of the new cast are perfectly good (I'm used to some of the old ones, so to me the new seem out of place, but I'm sure if you came to this fresh you'd find them perfectly good). So what's the problem? It's the omission of some key sounds effect and the inappropriate addition of others and some incidental music that undoes this version.

Others have mentioned the lack of the children singing and while this may seem trivial it does detract, but more importantly it's the incidental music and the addition of some special effects that do most to detract and distract. For example, for those that don't know this work, in one of the very early sequences, we are introduced to some dead people.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now this is more like it 4 April 2006
Format:Audio Cassette
Richard Burtons voice simply brings this audiobook to life.The majority of readers and listeners are more used to this version than Thomases original radio performance.
The characters are brought to life by a more than eager cast of well known personalities.
According to the accompanying script with this audio cd version
Thomas first aired his play on 14 May 1953 in New York on one of his lecture tours there.The recording we have here was totally revised and more the better for it and broadcast on 11 October 1963 a full ten years after its original airing.
What a contrast in style,the original 53 version is raw and unpolished and without Burtons commanding voice.
This 1963 edition is a revalation and was one of several transcripts with different cast members all bringing their own particular talent to this marvelous play.
If you must listen to the 1953 original you must remember this is not the finished article.To really appreciate the play turn to this BBC Radio Collection version it literally jumps out at you with its vigour and joy.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One spring day in Llareggub... 20 Jun 2011
By John P. Jones III TOP 500 REVIEWER
Dylan Thomas completed this play in 1953, a few days before his death. For this reason, some critics contend the play is "incomplete," an issue that will never be resolved. It is subtitled a "Play for Voices"; thus, it is a "reading," without accompanying action from the actors. Like Joyce's Ulysses (Classics) (Wordsworth Classics), the entire play covers only one day. Ulysses is set in Ireland; Thomas's play is set in a coastal fishing village in Wales, named Llareggub, which is literally located below another village called Milkwood, hence the title. Thanks to another reviewer, I learned that Llareggub spelled backwards is "Bugg*r All."

The play starts with the characters still asleep or just awaking. Along with Polly Garter, Captain Cat is one of the more memorable characters. He is dreaming of his numerous companions that were lost at sea. Much of the play relates to the male-female interactions (of which there are plenty!) in this small village. Some unhappy husbands and wives, naturally; several of whom seek solace outside the strict bounds of wedlock. No surprise there. Polly dreams of the one man who has ever truly satisfied her, Willy Nilly. There is the Rev. Eli Jenkins who makes pronouncements, and is routinely ignored. The "Sailors Arms" is the village pub (and essential community center). The clock is broken at half past eleven, which is the official opening time; thus, the pub is always open.

Thomas is wonderfully lyrical; so many of the words are selected simply for their euphony, and how well they elide into the next. And there is the rub. Can one appreciate the full artistic merit simply by reading it? I think not. You really do have to HEAR it also.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Time passes. Listen. Time passes." 30 Dec 2007
Format:Audio Cassette
Written as a "play for voices" for the BBC, this historic audiotape features the all-Welsh cast of the original BBC production from 1954. Richard Burton is the First Voice, which connects all the characters, played by twenty-eight men, women, and children. With perfect diction and the sense of character which only a great actor can convey, Burton rolls his R's, modulates his voice in pitch and intensity, and makes Thomas's poetry come fully alive--full of alliteration and various kinds of rhyme, with nouns and adjectives used as verbs to convey action and sense impressions simultaneously, and always a wry humor and honesty of feeling.

Depicting one full day in the life of a small town in Wales, Thomas shows its motley residents as they awaken, perform their daily tasks, socialize, gossip, and daydream about the past that might have been and the future that may yet hold hope. When night falls and the residents retire, their losses and disappointments, along with their escapes into dreams, are given voice and poignancy. Polly Garter, with her numerous children by numerous fathers, dreams of Willie, a very small man who was the love of her life. Captain Cat, the blind bell-ringer, thinks of all the sailors he knew who died at sea. Mr. Pugh dreams of poisoning his wife, and young Gwenny, who has extorted pennies from the little boys who do NOT want to kiss her, plans for the next day and more pennies.

The sound effects provide context for the drama without overpowering the narrative--a cock's crow, the clip-clop of horses, the bark of dogs, footsteps, the sea, bell buoys--and simple songs add to the realism and the sense of character and place.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good quality
As well as the text there is a mass of extra and supporting material that really adds to your understanding of the play.
Published 20 days ago by David Trist
4.0 out of 5 stars For under Milk Wood Lovers
Good accompanying notes to the text.
The downside -the text was small and quality of the paper wasn't that great.
Published 21 days ago by Judithheyjude
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
Best read out loud as the author intended, a fascinating story, and stands the test of time, as amusing today as when I first read it some 40 years ago
Published 3 months ago by Don Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars An expensive (but worthwhile) way to solve a crossword
Struggling to find a few answers in a cryptic crossword I knew the key was Under Milk Wood. What better way to solve it but by buying the book. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jardinier
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
Absolutely love it. Had it many years ago and am delighted to have it again. What else can I say.
Published 3 months ago by jeancc
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic poem
Wonderful language and imagery. It is still relevant 50 years on but it does need to be read a couple of time to get the music of the meaning and words.
Published 3 months ago by Ennis Bartman
4.0 out of 5 stars Under milk wood
I purchased the paperback version of this book as a Christmas present. It is a beautiful book packed with images from Sir Peter Blake and his 25 year homage to Dylan Thomas'... Read more
Published 3 months ago by H. Starns
5.0 out of 5 stars Under Milk Wood
A must have for any Dylan Thomas fan - a joy to read aloud to oneself or in a group - a lifelong favourite and highly recommended.
Published 5 months ago by Dorothy Sneesby
5.0 out of 5 stars A book every young person should read.
It is a book I go back to for inspiration. I remember well when it was first performed on The Third Programme. Read more
Published 5 months ago by John Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!!!!
I listened to this when at school and loved it then, so much so bought the BBC records!!! Was not disappointed with this version either. Read more
Published 6 months ago by A. Edwards
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