Burton

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 ever-present 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.

P.S. Catch him on Game of Thrones soon. Miles that is, not Burton.

Reviews by Sarah McIntosh

Edinburgh Playhouse

Funny Girl

★★★★
Festival Theatre Edinburgh

Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story

★★★★
King's Theatre

TOM, the Musical

★★★★
Festival Theatre Edinburgh

James III: The True Mirror

★★★★
Festival Theatre Edinburgh

James II: Day of the Innocents

★★★
Festival Theatre Edinburgh

James I: The Key Will Keep The Lock

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Winner – Best International Show, Hollywood Fringe 2010. Vividly presenting the life of the great Welsh actor from humble beginnings to Hollywood megastar. 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. ‘Fantastic, the whole audience was in the palm of his hand from beginning to end’ ***** (EdinburghGuide.com). ‘Charming, elegant one-man show which struggles to remove itself from the memory’ **** (Scotsman). ‘A brilliant and gripping portrait’ ***** (Critics' Choice, LA Weekly). ‘Clever, concise, alcoholically tragic and furtive storytelling’ ***** (LATheatreReview.com).

Most Popular See More

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Frozen the Musical

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £42.00

More Info

Find Tickets