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An Evening with Sir Roger Moore

30 October 15 words: James Walker
“He shrugged off his various dalliances as if they were an occupational hazard, but made it clear his least favourite leading female actress was Grace Jones.”
Roger Moore

 

As Umberto Eco pointed out in ‘Narrative Structures in Fleming’, every Bond movie/book contains recurring elements and archetypal situations that can be played out in any order. These include: M giving Bond a task; Villain captures Bond; Bond enjoys women, whom he loses, etc. On the screen, Bond has been played by various actors all of whom represent the various cultural anxieties of a particular historical moment. Presently, with the greatest of respect, we have a blond meathead who’s a bit rough around the edges. Roger Moore, who played Bond seven times between 1973 and 1985, was suave, sophisticated and sexist. He liked his Martinis “shaken, not stirred”, and was as much in love with his own appearance as he was with the many women who fell at his knees.  

Moore was born in Stockwell, London in 1927 and at the grand old age of 88 has finally got his arse over to Nottingham for the first time. He’s been touring the ‘an evening with’ format for the last four years and explained it was an excuse to show his Swedish wife Kristina Tholstrup a bit of the UK, as well as promote his latest biography, Last Man Standing: Tales from Tinseltown, which is written by Gareth Owen, who also interviews Moore on stage.  

Given Moore’s age, and the fact that he lip syncs on stage, I was surprised that the show was two hours with a 20 minute interval; but given that it focussed around his favourite topic – himself – it was clearly something he enjoyed. The stage was two comfy looking chairs with Union Jack cushions and a screen used for occasional film clips and stills from movies. 

The first part of the show went through his early career in film and the television serials Ivanhoe (1958-9); The Alaskans (1960) and Maverick (1961) before moving onto the serials that really began to cement his name such as The Saint (1962-69) and The Persuaders (1971). Two recurring themes emerged: Moore has been fired a lot of times, although he didn’t go into details as to why, and that his main motivation for his career path has been money he’s been a tax exile from the UK since 1978. But don’t be fooled by his self-effacing humour. He’s far too polite to state the obvious: He’s had an illustrious career and won too many awards to list.

The second half focussed on his life as Bond, the role he is best known for and the reason most of the audience were here. Despite his wife being in the audience (number 4 as of 2002) he was more than happy to laugh off a career that has been as successful in the bedroom as it has been on the stage. He shrugged off his various dalliances as if they were an occupational hazard, but made it clear his least favourite leading female actress was Grace Jones. However, he had the decorum not to slag her off or to go into specifics. There’s no need when you can raise an eyebrow that conveys a thousand words. 

In the Q&A he was asked who should play the next Bond and he wisely avoided controversy this time by suggesting his son. There was even time for a marriage proposal, a happy birthday, and some deft impressions of the many celebrities he’s worked with over the decades such as Michael Caine and Tony Curtis.    

Moore is as charming in the flesh as his onscreen persona and although his views may not chide well with the prevailing morality of 2015 he has the quality of being an authentic person. And so at the end of the show the money buckets were passed around – not to fund his next jolly - but in aid of UNICEF, the children’s charity he was introduced to by Audrey Hepburn. Moore has worked as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF since 1991 and was knighted for this in 2003.     

An Evening with Sir Roger Moore was at Nottingham Playhouse on Saturday 24 October 2015. 

Nottingham Playhouse website

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