John Peel’s life story on the right track
This article is from 2007.
It’s not the fact that John Peel had such an eventful life that makes it ideal material for a play. In fact, the relative mundanity of his existence is highlighted here. What makes this show so appealing is that Peel achieved so much simply by playing records and by his own admission ‘giving people something that they didn’t even know they wanted’.
He had three big relationships in his life: his wife, Sheila AKA the Pig, his erstwhile producer John Walters and his listeners. The focus here is on the latter two and their 25-year battle with Radio 1’s board to keep the cantankerous old fart on the air even in the face of the next wave of bright young things. Kieron Forsyth as Peel is excellent. He might not have the gruffness of the voice but he has the look, manner and timbre of the man off pat.
The great thing about Teenage Kicks is that you don’t have to be a dedicated Peel-ite to enjoy this story of a simple, if all consuming passion.
Assembly@Universal Arts, 623 3030, until 27 Aug (not 13, 20), 5.40pm, £12.50–14 (£10.50–12.50).