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Edinburgh Fringe 2022


WLTM Productions

Genre: Solo Show, Theatre, True-life

Venue: Greenside @ Infirmary Street - Ivy Studio


Low Down

Dylan Thomas is a legend as much in his life as he was in his drinking, and he is in his death. Like all practising alcoholics, in their wake there is debris. Here we are introduced to his wife and muse, Caitlin, who matched his drinking but never found her fame. From the beginnings of a pure love affair which began with his head in her lap to the end when he lay in a morgue in New York, she holds nothing back as she talks of his infidelity, her infidelity, his appalling behaviour, her appalling  behaviour, their children, their lives of poverty and of making a home never good enough to spend the evening by the fireside in. It is a passionate tale of desire, hope and reality that scarred them and the ones they left behind.


Caitlin Macnamara arrives onstage in this one woman show like a tempered whirlwind. Her mission is to show us that she should never have been ignored – it is a hugely successful performance. If behind every successful man there is a woman, she takes the cliche and blows the gloss of it. Her stories structured as a narrative in roughly chronological order, cover the success, the misery, the war, having a home, having little to show for his poetry, the boathouse in Larne, the births of their children and the termination. It is unrelenting but paced expertly so that we keep up and never shut off.

It is not directed as a misery memoir. It is directed as a performance piece to give platform to a woman lost and forgotten by people who never knew her in the first place but should more than remember her name. She gave him more than just a bed. She was a dancer who sacrificed so that he could create. We all believe that we are the better for his poetry, she was the worse for its support. There are bitter tones which emerge at times, but they are handled with great care. Thomas is an icon, and any criticism could be taken badly, but here the reality of life and the hope of change alongside a brutal honesty over her own behaviour adds the authenticity needed to share that experience without condemning it. The script, performance and direction work well.

The staging is basic, used well and the lighting is too. The voice we hear at times towards the end, his voice, adds to the richness of the performance as it reminds us of his mesmeric qualities. It in no way excuses or should excuse his behaviour as a human being but it adds some of the contextualisation which tells us just why Caitlin should not be ignored and her role was far more than the memories suggest.


Show Website

WLTM Productions