This version of "Dylan," Sidney Michaels' '60s Broadway play about poet Dylan Thomas' celebrated but unhappy life, demonstrates just how good a production can be. The show has funny, moving portrayals, top-notch lighting and costumes and effortless set changes.

This version of “Dylan,” Sidney Michaels’ ’60s Broadway play about poet Dylan Thomas’ celebrated but unhappy life, demonstrates just how good a production can be. The show has funny, moving portrayals, top-notch lighting and costumes and effortless set changes.

Actor Robert Walden, here directing for the first time, gets performances from his actors that conjure up the specifics of Thomas’ life as well as the general feelings of the time.

Taking place in the early ’50s (the last years of his life), the play takes a quick look at a time when red-baiting prevailed, America was reading, editors developed close friendships with their prized writers, and huge cocktail parties were de rigueur.

Dave Higgins plays the melancholy poet, who displays all the nuances of an addicted, alcoholic personality. His Dylan is talented yet unable to create, wise yet unable to help himself, and loved yet unable to be loving.

Pat Destro’s passionate performance as Thomas’ shrill, long-suffering wife, Caitlin, aptly accompanies Higgins’.

Equally honorable are the colorful characterizations by Robert Pine as Thomas’ editor, and Sibel Ergener as the smart but somewhat repressed assistant editor who played a principal part in getting the poet through his last tour.

Shon Le Blanc’s ’50s costumes are impressive, from sturdy to beatnik, with the right combination of colors set off by lighting designer Ray Thompson.

Dylan

(Skylight Theatre, Hollywood; 81 seats; $ 20 top)

Production

The Theatre Group in association with Camelot Artists presents a drama in two acts by Sidney Michaels, based on biographies by John Malcom Brinnin and Caitlin Thomas. Director, Robert Walden.

Creative

Set design, John Ivo Gilles; lighting, Ray Thompson; costumes, Shon Le Blanc; sound, David Bartlett. Opened Sept. 10, 1994; reviewed Dec. 9; runs through Dec. 18. Running time: 2 hours, 45 min.

Cast

Dylan ... Dave Higgins Caitlin ... Pat Destro Brinnin ... Michael Kaplan Angus ... Robert Pine Meg ... Sibel Ergener Annabelle ... Rachel Mass Matlock ... Jack McGee Elena ... Elaine Giftos Jay Henry ... James Mathers

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