BURTON WINNER OF “BEST INTERNATIONAL SHOW” AT THE HOLLYWOOD FRINGE FESTIVAL 2010.
“Welsh actor Rhodri Miles delivers a brilliant and gripping portrait” ‘Critics Choice-GO’ LA Weekly*****
“Clever, concise, alcoholically tragic and furtive storytelling” LA Theatre Review*****
“A masterful performance” British theatre guide
BURTON vividly presents the life of the great Welsh actor in his own words from humble beginnings to Hollywood megastardom. Beautiful women (not least Liz Taylor), alcohol, wealth, stage and screen are the threads woven into this sad, happy, exuberant often hilarious one-man show. Drink was the only real anodyne to his deteriorating health and mental state, his doomed tempestuous relationship with Taylor and his constant guilt over the abandonment of his family. RHODRI MILES,(Eastern Promises, Torchwood, Holby City) takes on the role of the younger BURTON and received critical acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2009 and also Hollywood fringe festival 2010 where the play won ‘Best International’ show.
“Fantastic, the whole audience was in the palm of his hand from beginning to end” ***** Edinburgh Guide
“Charming, Elegant one-man show which struggles to remove itself from the memory” **** The Scotsman
BURTON***** ASSEMBLY HALL, MOUND PLACE. by Sarah McIntosh “BROADWAY BABY” on 2nd August 2014
The tiny venue was packed so tight for the opening performance of Burton no one in the audience dared breathe. The incarnation of Richard Burton stood before us, dressed in typical 1970s casual yet stylish (for the era) attire and clutching a glass of whisky and soda. Actor Rhodri Miles’ Burton at once enchanted the audience with his stories, beginning with his childhood and charting his acting career alongside many of the 20th century’s greatest. They don’t make them like that anymore. As he spoke, twenty years dropped from his face and he let go of Burton’s craggy brow and set jaw. I’d love to see what he does with his other Fringe show about Dylan Thomas. But this one man show is more than just a ramble through someone’s very public life. It delves into the emotions that drove the great man to pursue his passions – acting, drinking, and women. Gwynne Edwards’ creditable writing allows Miles to play with a poetic monologue smattered with enough humour for the audience to truly warm to the character. Perhaps as an ironic joke, Burton complains about the lack of good script writing most eloquently. I lost count of the number of times Burton sauntered to the drinks trolley to refill his glass, but this expressed how big a part alcohol played in his life–it caused both the early demise of his good friend Dylan Thomas and was a contributing factor for the break-up of his marriage to Liz Taylor. These tragedies, along with the break-up of his first marriage and his brother’s accident, are retold with poignant pragmatism. Burton pauses over his whisky and works his jaw as if lost in the memory, brilliantly conveying intimate moments. Puzzlingly, Miles pronounces ‘ty’ as ‘tie’ instead of ‘tee’ when talking about ty bach (little house in Welsh). Maybe it’s different where he comes from. And where was the everpresent cigarette? But, these are small and pedantic niggles; Miles’s portrayal of Burton is a textbook example of a character study – intense, intimate, and deeply humane. After the applause finally died down, Miles the actor thanked us in his own soft Welsh accent. As he spoke, twenty years dropped from his face and he let go of Burton’s craggy brow and set jaw. I’d love to see what he does with his other Fringe show about Dylan Thomas. This young actor from Wales is already well on his way to greatness.
THE SCOTSMAN REVIEW BURTON **** DAVID POLLOCK VENUE 13 (VENUE13)
AS MUCH as the accent, the poise and the dry Welsh humour of Rhodri Miles’s performance stay with you, another motif of his understated but excellent performance also struggles to remove itself from the memory. It’s the way he tenderly cradles a glass part-filled with crushed ice and a brown liquor in his fingers, as he would the head of a baby or perhaps a spouse in a more romantic moment. Of course, he had more than one child and wife, did Richard Burton, but those highball glasses were what he got through most of in his time. Miles’s Burton speaks fondly of the actor’s friend Dylan Thomas during this charming, elegant one-man show, and his continuing regret that he didn’t lend the poet a mere £200 just weeks before his death. The done-is-done sentiment here has an alternate resonance; Miles played Thomas in similar circumstances at this venue during the Fringe of 2007, and is fluently practised at giving life to Welsh icons. His Burton is a Hollywood charm and wit, yet also wistfully rooted in the earthiness of his origins, where men do back-breaking work and can only greet his professional move to the States with a bullish, competitive “you make sure you beat him [Marlon Brando] Rich”. Then of course, there are the women. Gwynne Edwards’ script gives an effective overview of Burton’s life, including his movie career and his actorly friendships and influences. Among much blokey reminiscing, one beery anecdote where Victor Mature declares “I wish to make it clear I’m not an actor and I have 60 films to prove it” stands out. Yet Burton’s loves, mainly with his homely first wife of four, Sybil, and fellow party animal Elizabeth Taylor (whose breasts are “apocalyptic; they could topple empires before they withdrew”) track the arc of his life most closely. These and that eternal companion in the glass. Even as his health fails and he rebukes his own physician with the last breath of the play, this Burton doesn’t wallow in his decline. Miles’s Burton deserves revisiting and rediscovery; we might even wish we could go drinking with him.
REVIEW GO BURTON LA WEEKLY*****
In his 75-minute solo drama, Welsh actor Rhodri Miles delivers a brilliant and gripping full-length portrait of fellow Welshman, actor and movie star Richard Burton. Script-writer Gwynne Edwards, director Hugh Thomas and Miles meld their talents in a bitter and funny warts-and-all biography that traces Burton’s life from cradle almost to grave, with pithy accounts of his love affairs with Claire Bloom and Susan Strasberg, his tempestuous marriages to Elizabeth Taylor, and his love-hate relationship with acting (he preferred playing rugby). Miles meticulously captures Burton’s savage wit.
THE EDINBURGH GUIDE By Alex Eades – Posted on 25 August 2009 5 Stars ***** Venue: 13 Company: Miles Productions Running time: 75mins Production: Hugh Thomas (director), Gwynne Edwards (writer) Performers: Rhodri Miles (Richard Burton)
The Welsh get a hard time, I think. Generally looked at as quite a silly little race with a funny accent and a language that requires you to remove your tongue and put it up your nose if you want to grapple any of its words. For a nation that has around half the population of Scotland, they’ve produced quite a lot. Oscar winners (Anthony Hopkins & Catherine Zeta Jones), singers (Tom Jones & Shirley Bassey), bands (Stereophonics & Manic Street Preachers), poets (Dylan Thomas) and for the smallest population in the rugby six nations they do pretty darn well. I could go on, but this show is about one particular Welsh great: Richard Burton. This one man show has the actor talk about his life from humble beginnings in Wales to his superstardom in Hollywood. His struggle with drink, women and the movie business. I have to confess that I didn’t know that much about Richard Burton going into this show, but I came out intrigued by the man. The performance by the lead is fantastic. He talks as he drinks endless glasses of gin like a fine storyteller in a local pub. The whole audience was in the palm of his hands from beginning to end and, though we had no alcohol, our insides were warmed by his deep, soft Welsh accent. The language and the humour are all typically Welsh as is the beautiful gift of storytelling, shown here in this wonderful show. Know him or not. Love him or loathe him, this is a fascinating, warm and funny show that will leave you with a big, fat smile on your face. Da iawn!
Written by: Gwynne Edwards
Directed by: Hugh Thomas
Performed by: Rhodri Miles
DATES AND VENUES
November 3rd - Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli | November 5th - Lyric Theatre, Carmarthen | December 11th - Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff