BBC Radio 7, 4 April 2009
Like many biodramas of the rich and famous, this life of the singer Roy
Orbison revealed "the man behind the myth." A chronic melancholic, tormented by fears of death and buffeted by the loss of
wife and family in an air crash, Orbison's songs reflected his moods. However playwright McKay also suggests that Orbison's
problems were self-inflicted as a result of his narcissism that could be traced back to his childhood. He grew up as the proverbial
ugly duckling, possessing undoubted musical talent but lacking the conventional good looks to catapult him to stardom. When
Orbison finally made it, he virtually rejected all hs friends and colleagues who had helped him in the past; life had to be
managed all on his own.
Like the life of Billy Fury broadcast last year, Take the Night shies away
from Orbison's public image in favour of portraying him as a tormented genius. It is episodic in structure, beginning with
Orbison's "rediscovery" in the world of popular music as a member of The Travelling Wilburys, and moving back in time
to his childhood. Kerry Shale expended plenty of vocal energy in the leading role, but seldom did I feel that Orbison
was a very interesting subject for dramatization. He was certainly a talented musician, but at the same time self-indulgent.
The director was Andy Jordan.