Something Else

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The Independent Culture
You probably haven't heard of Gary Montgomery, the American actor. You will, though, have heard of his uncle, one Bernard Montgomery, First Viscount of Alamein and hero of WWII. Now the two Montgomerys have been rolled into one for a theatrical commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of D-Day. Gary Montgomery's one-man show, An Evening with Field Marshal Montgomery, promises to be the closest thing to meeting Monty in the flesh you'll ever get: but then, after seeing the show you may be thankful you never got very close.

The piece starts as a series of reminiscences by Montgomery, nephew (above) - now in his sixties - about the man he knew from the age of eight. As the evening progresses, he dons battledress, complete with a beret bearing the two badges Monty wore at El Alamein, and becomes 'the lonely hero'. 'Putting on the moustache at the end of Act One is the final moment of transformation,' he explains. But Monty junior is not interested in 'bash the Bosch' speeches, dwelling instead on their falling-out in 1958. 'He used to befriend young boys who would hero- worship him, and if they started asking questions he would drop them. I was dropped.'

Since he freely admits that Monty would have been infuriated by the portrayal, and that he doesn't cover the D-Day landings - the ostensible reason for the tour - what seems to be driving Gary Montgomery is the knowledge that you can't beat a good tearjerker. As he says, 'I take him apart, but with an awful lot of love.' Dominic Cavendish

Barn Theatre, Tenterden, tonight to 22 May. Tour continues to 6 July (info: 071-262 5566)

(Photograph omitted)

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