Search

Oliver: Reed Wild Thing, review: ‘A lot of fun but also a bit of a freak show’

PUBLISHED: 14:30 18 January 2017 | UPDATED: 14:30 18 January 2017

Rob Crouch in Oliver Reed Wild Thing. Picture: Annabel Staff

Rob Crouch in Oliver Reed Wild Thing. Picture: Annabel Staff

Annabel Staff Photography

Co-writer Rob Crouch bounds onto the stage in a gorilla suit and bullies an audience member to be his barman for the evening

Go to Google and you’ll find a 1992 clip of a tired and emotional Oliver Reed being prodded and poked to perform Wild Thing. Although strangely compelling, it is horrible to watch, taunting an old animal into performing circus tricks.

Co-writer Rob Crouch bounds onto the stage in a gorilla suit and bullies an audience member to be his barman for the evening: there’s plenty of audience participation – if you look anything like Alan Bates, you might want to keep out of Crouch’s line of sight.

Rob rehearses Reed’s early years, problems at school – being functionally illiterate by the time he reported for National Service – and his attempts to become the class clown, school bully and then clean up at sports day.

He was well connected (Carol Reed was an uncle) and incredibly good looking, so became an actor. After his face was remodelled in a bar fight, he thought his career would be prematurely over; but the episode only served to increase his notoriety and fame.

And on it goes – the stories of legendary drinking sessions with rock stars and rugby clubs, actors (Harris, O’Toole and Burton were his libationary role models) and public bar scum. At one time he was considered the best British international actor of his time, and was even in the frame to be James Bond.

Rob Crouch has the same build as Ollie – large, overbearing, post athletic. He has all the mannerisms and has clearly researched the part well. He has even got the voice but sadly rarely uses it, preferring to holler as if to do justice to the stories he tells with so much affection.

Reed had a loud personality, but most of the time was very quietly spoken, a manner which paradoxically added to the threat.

Almost anything could happen with him, and it usually did. A lot of fun but also a bit of a freak show.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Latest Hackney Stories

36 minutes ago

London-based coach Born Barikor is leading the way in keeping Londoners active, with his Our Parks initiative happening across the capital.

Macauley Bonne’s hat-trick helped Orient earn a 5-1 win at Braintree Town to make it 13 games without defeat this season

07:50

Middlesex batsman Stevie Eskinazi admits their County Championship Division Two clash with Durham has been ‘really interesting’.

10:59

Overground ticket offices in Hackney are set to be decimated as a consultation has revealed plans to close 12 of them.

The Gazette pre-warned readers about an upcoming emergency planning exercise, in which a plane “will be imagined to have crashed” on the Stonebridge Estate in Clarissa Street, Haggerston.

The watchdog for local government finance launched an investigation into why a council worker had been paid £56,000 to do absolutely nothing for four whole years

National League: Braintree Town 1 Leyton Orient 5

Yesterday, 19:24

Middlesex have threatened to spoil Paul Collingwood’s swansong at the Emirates Riverside with a spirited fightback on day two of their Specsavers County Championship Division Two clash against Durham.



Newsletter Sign Up

Hackney Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read entertainment

Show Job Lists