Lies Have Been Told: An Evening with Robert Maxwell
Reviled figure rebuffs his critics
This article is from 2008.
The tremendous performance by Phillip York in this one-man show about Robert Maxwell is so impressive you’re likely to find yourself admiring, and even feeling sorry for the once reviled late media mogul. But as towering a performance and uncannily accurate an impersonation as York’s is, credit must also go to writer Rob Beacham for his incisive postmortem of the larger-then-life figure of hate who set himself up as proprietor of The Daily Mirror, siphoning off the pension fund of its employees before being found drowned under suspicious circumstances off the coast of the Canary Islands in 1991.
The show takes the form of a monologue delivered by Maxwell, defending his character and rebuffing his critics. Basing his defence on the supposedly irrefutable facts of his life, Maxwell fills in his background as a Czech Jew who lost his family to the Nazis but escaped extermination to become a self-made millionaire in Britain, arguing a reasonably convincing case for being a victim of anti-Semitism in postwar London. Beacham’s clever, frequently hilarious script, however, has its subject playing fast and loose with the truth, while the final judgement, that the man was sunk by his own insatiable greed, rings true.
Assembly Rooms, 623 3030, until 25 Aug (not 19), 2pm, £11–£13 (£10–£12).