Theatre in Wales

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Burton and Taylor call in at the Sherman!

A PLAY, A PIE AND A PINT – THE BURTON TAYLOR AFFAIR

Òran Mór in association with Sherman Theatre , Sherman Theatre – Studio , November-07-17
A PLAY, A PIE AND A PINT – THE BURTON TAYLOR AFFAIR by Òran Mór in association with Sherman Theatre This innovative Scottish/Welsh collaboration was perfectly illustrated by roles in this play being taken by fine Scottish actor Vivien Reid and from Wales, the very experienced and accomplished Dewi Rhys Williams.

The Pie and the Pint were great but the Play-script by debuting playwright, Steven Paul was a bit thin and lacking in substance. Nevertheless, due to Chelsey Gillard’s sensitive and intelligent direction and the great performances from Reid and Williams we actually did feel we were sharing intimate, ‘at home’ moments with these two glamorous icons from the film world.

They are alone together, late in their careers, most of their major film roles are behind them. From time to time Reid allows Taylor’s coquettishness to show through but what we mainly see is the very intelligent woman, the actor who won four Oscars for roles like Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf. Williams gives us a Burton the great actor who well deserved his CBE. Burton attributed not having a knighthood to changing his residence from London to Céligny, Geneva to escape taxes.

There are short incidences of sharp words but more importantly these actors are able to show us genuine moments of love between them. It was this personal intimacy that the writer needed to give us more theatricality and more real substance.

He didn’t need to say anymore about their serious drinking habits and alcohol dependency. On stage Burton’s glass never remained empty for long and the decanters were continually refilled. He was knocking back three to four bottles of hard liquor a day, around this time as well as smoking up to 100 cigarettes a day. Taylor eventually wasn’t very far behind him. She sought treatment for her problems from the Betty Ford Clinic.
But here with the strong sincerity played by Reid and Williams, against the odds of the script, we leave them enjoying life, enjoying each other and enjoying the booze. Cheers!

Reviewed by: Michael Kelligan

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