Keith Moon: The Real Me by Mick Berry tells the story of the band The Who's lead drummer, Keith Moon.
The show centers on the musician's life, relationships, and substance abuse. The performance structure includes Mick Berry playing sets on the drums and then switching to story-telling.
At the play's opening, Moon asks, "Who am I?" This sets the tone for the play as he grapples with answering this question. He often says, "I'm Keith F'ing Moon ."This becomes his refrain. Serving as a reminder of who he was, how he got there and who he is now.
The storyline unfolds with Berry telling of Moon's childhood. He didn’t have the easiest of lives, often not understood by educators. One of his teachers said that he was "retarded artistically. Idiotic in other respects." Moon was a hyperactive child with a vast imagination and a fondness for music. It was his love for music and, more so, drumming that became his release. He began working on his craft and was lucky to take classes with Carlo Little, one of the best drummers in London at the time.
Shortly thereafter, Moon joined The Who and his legend began. Berry continues telling of his rise to fame in a detailed manner. He speaks of Moon's many misfortunes in the 1970s, including the untimely death of his driver, Neil Boland, and the ending of his marriage. Moon's addictions became increasingly difficult to control, so much so that he passed out on stage on numerous occasions, leading to hospitalizations. The play doesn't address his final days or cause of death as it is an imagined portrayal of Moon's most profound feelings in an attempt to find himself.
Mick Berry is a skilled musician and performer. His portrayal of Keith Moon is genuine and insightful. Berry passionately depicts the pain, confusion and sadness felt by Moon both in his acting and drumming. There are moments when the music talks and no words are needed. Additionally, the musical selections by Berry fit well with the narrative.
If you like drums, drummers and a whole lot of rock and roll, this is a great show to catch.
"Keith Moon: The Real Me"
Written and Performed by Mick Berry
Directed by Nancy Carlin
October 21 and 25, 2023
The 15th United Solo Festival
September 25- November 19, 2023
410 West 42nd (btw 9th and 10th Avenue)
Yani Perez, M.F.A, is a poet, playwright, translator, and educator. Her plays have been presented in various theaters in the United States such as La Mama and Yale University as well as internationally in Bogotá, Colombia. She works at IATI Theater, one of the oldest Latinx theaters in NYC. She is currently working on translations of Latinx artists in hopes of introducing them to English-speaking audiences.