Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Oliver Reed: Wild Thing (theatre)

A week of 'for one night only' performances at the Devonshire Park in April should be good for at least one evening of theatre, if not two or more! Four very different offerings are the fantastic Blonde Poison (about which I have already blogged), the subject of this post, Oliver Reed: Wild Thing, cookery with Hardeep Singh Kohli's Indian Takeaway and the improvised musical that is The Showstoppers.

Oliver Reed: Wild Thing is a new one-man play telling the life story of the legendary hell-raiser. It will be performed by Rob Crouch, who is also one half of the writing team with Mike Davis, and has been directed by Kate Bannister. Under the title of 'One For The Road: An Evening with Oliver Reed', the play first premiered at the Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival in May 2011 and is currently being toured nationally. Eastbourne is the last stop before the company head out for several dates in Ireland. During the seventy minute performance, the audience is invited to join Oliver Reed in Malta as he looks back over his life from the boyhood excitement of learning he was a descendent of Peter the Great, through the success of Oliver!, boozy adventures with Keith Moon and disastrous chat show appearances. Set in 1999, when Reed was not far from death, Rob Crouch portrays every facet of the man from his furious rages to the pathetic alcoholism that killed him. There are some fantastic reviews on the play's own website and I am definitely going to be booking for this!

Devonshire Park Theatre, Thu 18th April, 19:45.
Tickets £13.50, available online, by calling 01323 412000 or in person at the Box Office and the Tourist Information Office.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely to see a different ‘sea’ of faces had been tempted to the Devonshire Park for Oliver Reed: Wild Thing. Judging from the enthusiastic chatter at kicking out time, I believe we all appreciated the play so hopefully future productions will benefit.

    You’ll notice I said appreciated, rather than enjoyed. While there are many humorous moments and the play is certainly entertaining, it is always painfully apparent that we are watching a man destroy himself so to say enjoyment feels inappropriate. Rob Crouch pitches his performance to make the arrogant and provocative Reed a sympathetic figure at the start and then manages the feat of keeping his audience onside throughout, as his Reed becomes more unlikeable. Framing the markers of his life is a nice touch that fleshes out the set, and I liked the slick use of costuming and props to indicate different ages and characters. Using ‘amateurs’ from the audience for the chat show sequence is inspired as it creates the same nervousness and uncertainty in the current audience as must have been felt at the time by those rubber-necking Reed’s road crash appearances.

    Great theatre!