Caitlin

Caitlin is a theatrical portrait of Dylan Thomas’ wild wife, Caitlin Macnamara, and features Caitlin herself telling the story of their volatile and passionate relationship. This compelling one-woman show tracks Caitlin’s life from being a young dancer and meeting Dylan, to his death and her reaction to it. Mike Kenny’s exquisite writing manages to capture Caitlin’s resentment for both her sacrificed potential and her passionate love for Dylan.

Kenny’s writing really demonstrates why this phenomenal woman was the match to Dylan Thomas’ genius.

The stripped back performance directed by Steve Elias never allows you to be bored. The linguistic energy of the play never stops until the climax, taking the audience with it on the journey of Caitlin’s tumultuous life. Audible gasps from the audience showed how invested they were. Christine Kempell was charming to watch as Caitlin and she captured Caitlin’s intelligence, energy and untempered passion in her performance. However, Kempell seemed to not connect properly with the text at points, and in a small space it was noticeable. Also, sometimes her movement around the stage seemed a bit too premeditated. Both of these small observations will certainly, I'm sure, be ironed out in later performances.

The true shining star of this portrait is Mike Kenny. Kenny’s writing really demonstrates why this phenomenal woman was the match to Dylan Thomas’ genius. He accurately writes Caitlin as a relatively uneducated, wicked, yet smart force of nature - the multifaceted Caitlin is charming and contradictory. The momentum of the script carried the audience through her life, reflecting her essence in the story structure and its delivery neither dawdled nor hesitated, leaving the audience with a production that was unapologetically human.

This beautifully written and well-paced one woman show of Caitlin Macnamara’s life with Dylan Thomas is a truly entertaining watch. Caitlin was extraordinary, a woman before her time, and that was beautifully captured in Mike Kenny’s writing. Even knowing the ending of the story beforehand, the unpredictable nature of the story and the performance meant that the finale still came as a shock.

Reviews by Kat O'Dougherty

Rialto Theatre

Hymns for Robots

★★★★★
The Warren: The Hat

A Brave Face

★★★★
Rialto Theatre

Caitlin

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Before the poet Dylan Thomas drank himself to death at the age of 39, he and his wife Caitlin binged and brawled their way all around the bars of Britain in the 1930s and 40s. In this one-woman show, Caitlin tells the story in her own brutally honest words, about her stormy but passionate, booze-fuelled and infidelity-riddled marriage to the tragic genius and her own unfulfilled ambitions. "He had his poetry. He was a poet. You will have heard of him. And Caitlin Macnamara? Chances are that if you’ve heard of me. It’s because I married him."