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Watch this stunning performance of “Starless and bible-black”

12 Sep 2021 2 minute read
Michael Sheen in Under Milk Wood Credit: Johan Persson

A clip of Michael Sheen’s performance in Under Milk Wood has been shared on YouTube by the National Theatre.

Michael Sheen’s performance was enthusiastically described as “nothing short of theatrically seminal” by What’s on Stage and “bewitching” and “full of humanity” in the acclaimed recent production.

Making the famous Starless and bible-black speech completely his own, Sheen captivates and inhabits the stage in this teaser.


Clearly, this piece wasn’t filmed when the Welshman took the unprecedented move of stepping out of character to address the audience after the matinee performance was constantly interrupted by phone calls, ringtones and numerous ‘pings’ of notifications.

Sheen addressed the audience and said: “I’m asking all of you now to turn your phones off.

“We haven’t waited this long to be in a theatre to listen to your phones. Turn them off. I’ll wait.”

A clearly frustrated Sheen was then met with bursts of applause and cheering from the auditorium.

Acknowledging the incident on Twitter in response to @UnderstudyJim’s blog, the actor posted: “I felt terrible for coming out of the play and breaking the illusion but it was happening so often I felt it had to be addressed as it was spoiling the experience for everyone.”

The full play is available to rent here


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Gill Jones
Gill Jones
2 years ago

Meistr wrth ei waith, gwych.
A master at work, truly depicting the other master in his ‘craft or sullen art’

2 years ago

‘Sgen i ddim y geiriau i ddisgrifio’r perfformiad hwn, ond mi ceisia i: awesome, outstanding, brilliant. Michael Sheen is probably, and deserves to be, the most loved man in Cymru.

Keith Gogarth
Keith Gogarth
2 years ago

Better than Hopkins and Burton

Helen Rogers
Helen Rogers
2 years ago

Un gair, bendigedig

Malcolm gough
Malcolm gough
2 years ago
Reply to  Helen Rogers


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