Oliver Reed: Wild Thing
Rob Crouch paints a blazing theatrical portrait of the renowned boozer
This article is from 2012.
In this excellent one-man show, the renowned hellraiser recounts his wayward life from beyond the grave and, appropriately, during the course of a mammoth boozing session. Rob Crouch does a superb job of playing the British film star of the 1960 and 70s, nailing Reed’s mannered English accent and idiosyncratic intonation, his insolent attitude, mischievous stare and macho swagger. It’s an enormously entertaining, frequently hilarious performance that switches to sombre and serious as Crouch’s Reed becomes fully inebriated and the recollections of the man who swore he’d drink himself to death reach the end of his life, mid-way through making his final film, Gladiator.
En route to that last drink, we learn a good deal about Reed. Alongside the well-known stories – nude wrestling with Alan Bates in Women in Love, the infamous appearance on the Johnny Carson Show that ended with Shelly Winters throwing a drink over him, the legendary wild parties with The Who drummer Keith Moon – we also find out what made the man tick, and drink so hard, and where that odd, upper class voice came from.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, until 27 Aug, 3.30pm, £10–£11.