Interviewer: Gareth Owen
Reviewer: Audrey Pointer
Sir Roger Moore has had a notable TV and film career, the highlights of which are: starring as Simon Templar in more than a hundred episodes of The Saint; co-starring with Tony Curtis as Lord Brett Sinclair in The Persuaders and starring as James Bond in seven films, a rôle he held for longer than any other actor.
In An Evening with Sir Roger Moore, the octogenarian answers questions posed by Gareth Owen, who helped him write his biography and, near the end, by members of the audience. He talks about his acting career and his charity work. The tour is to promote his latest book, Last Man Standing, a collection of anecdotes from his acting career. He also takes the opportunity to highlight the good work of children’s charity UNICEF for which he is a Goodwill Ambassador.
The set is simple: two comfortable chairs for Moore and Owen, with the suitable addition of a union flagcushion, and a screen behind them onto which photographs from Moore’s long career are projected.
The great man, welcomed enthusiastically by a large appreciative audience, launches into a preamble to begin the evening but before long, Gareth Owen gently takes the reins and begins to apply a chronological structure to the interview.
We learn how Sir Roger came to work in television and film. We hear about his key rôles and some of his lesser-known ones. We find out which of Sir Roger’s films he is most proud of, and about some he would rather forget. The former is something of a surprise, asit’s a lesser known film in which he feels he had the opportunity to really act, that he is most pleased about.
His anecdotes relate to a wide range of co-stars. He speaks fondly of recently deceased Richard Kiel, who famously played Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. He tells stories about Tony Curtis, who played rough diamond Danny Wilde to Moore’s Lord Brett Sinclair in The Persuaders. He reminisces about fellow British actor Christopher Lee, himself a nonagenarian, who played Bond Villain Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun.
Sir Roger tells stories of the trademark explosions in the 007 films, one of which led to a real injury for the actor and another of which features a terrified Britt Ekland on the set of The Man with the Golden Gun. Another Bond girl, Madeleine Smith as Miss Caruso, features in an anecdote about gadgets. In Moore’s first Bond film, Live and Let Die, 007 has a rôlex Submariner watch with a powerful electromagnet, which he uses to unzip Miss Caruso’s dress. At this point, the relevant film clip is shown, though it is the only film clip used. This begs the question why other clips weren’t shown throughout the evening, which would have helped to illustrate key points and provide variety.
Certainly technology is embraced in other ways, as members of the audience are invited to text or tweet questions to Sir Roger for the audience participation part of the show near the end.
He intersperses his anecdotes with jokes, some of which are rather risqué, but delivered with boyish innocence and apologetic charm rather than with offence.
At the very end of the show, Sir Roger changes gear, rising from his seat to give a glowing tribute to Audrey Hepburn, his predecessor as Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF. He then delivers a poetic and philosophical reflection on life. It is a heartfelt speech which illustrates Sir Roger’s wisdom, humility and humanity.
All in all, this is an evening of revelation and good humour, delivered with Moore’s well-established suaveness and professionalism, to an audience happy to hang on the every word of this popular knight of the realm.
One night only. There are several more dates on the UK tour.
Reviewed on: 24th September 2014