Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Uncanny Portrait of the Awesome Welles; THEATRE

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Uncanny Portrait of the Awesome Welles; THEATRE

Article excerpt

Byline: KIERON QUIRKE

Rosebud

King's Head, Islington

THE Lives Of Orson Welles is the subtitle of this slickly-performed and highly-entertaining monologue.

The plural is appropriate for a jackofall-trades whose acquaintance with the truth was passing, and whose early success and twilight years of failure made true his Bard's dictum that one man in his life plays many parts.

Yet however multifaceted Welles was, actor Christian McKay has him down to a T. It helps that he is babyfaced, not exactly svelte, and has put in some practice on curling his lip and raising his eyebrows. The voice is a demonically-smooth baritone.

The speech has that slow, confident rhythm and the sentences are studded with pauses to draw you in deeper.

We hear of his rise to fame through War Of The Worlds and Citizen Kane, then of the fall, precipitated by the butchering of his masterpiece The Magnificent Ambersons. Writer Mark Jenkins has caught Welles's lofty, yet slightly laughable style, his words impressive despite their plagiarised poetry and showy classical allusion. …

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