I have a new play on Radio 4 this Thursday afternoon (8th December) at 2.15pm…
Set in the Summer of 1974 – “Burning Both Ends” explores the intense, hilarious and very special friendship between English actor Oliver Reed and ‘wild man’ drummer – Keith Moon. It is the story of a “bro-mance” that sprung up when Ken Russell (RIP), playing unwitting match-maker, cast the men opposite each other in his movie version of the rock opera, Tommy.
Keith Moon was the world famous drummer of THE WHO. He had a gargantuan appetite for partying, drugs, alcohol, and pranks – And was looking for a new playmate.
Oliver Reed was the biggest movie star in Britain. His credits included Women in Love, The Three Musketeers, and his iconic role as Bill Sykes in Oliver! He had a beautiful ballerina partner, a huge mansion in Surrey, and a French magazine had voted him ‘the sexiest man’ on earth… Reed had it all… But felt there was something missing from his life… Keith Moon, he decided – “was the path I was looking for”…
It’s a story that I found funny and touching. And the play is a fictionalised account of their time together – mainly set on the south coast while they were on the Tommy shoot.
Sean Pertwee plays Olly – in my opinion, a remarkable transformative performance. (Someone tweeted me that Sean has ‘the most masculine voice in British acting’ And that seems apt for this role!)
Arthur Darvill plays the Keith Moon with a mercurial energy – complex, fun, but with shades of darkness at heart.
Together the actors threw themselves at the roles – playful, funny, joyful, revelatory, naughty, and moving. But that’s just my opinion -and i’m biased.
For details of Burning Both Ends click HERE
[*UPDATE – A feature article I wrote about the play is in today’s Sunday Express. – 4th Dec 2011]
UPDATE – Burning Both Ends is available Here