Mike played (the young and old) Brendan Behan in the reading of the first half of my projected play, A Real Live Human Behan with the Hammersmith/Riverside Actors and Writers Group, as AWL was known then. He was absolutely superb. Absolutely the “Roaring Boy” Rebel reading it, playing it, being it. Originally, it was meant to be read by two actors Brendan (older) and Brendan (younger). But he nailed both parts to the mast. And a really intelligent, gentle person and totally self-effacing off-stage.
He was GREAT on stage, and GREAT off-stage which is unusual in our profession.
The last time I saw him perform was at The Barbican with the Royal Shakespeare Company. In Julius Caesar, I’d gone along to see a friend of mine, Anton Lesser. But in a smallish part (as most of mine were with the RSC!) Mike shone out like a diamond, without, and possibly because of, not overdoing it but being it.
He was a big personality, big hearted, and big talented. To misquote my title -he was a Real Live Human Being/Behan. Why his talent didn’t take him further is in the lap of the gods. But I can see his smile and cheeky wink, and self-effacing face. Ah well, that’s the way it goes.
He wasn’t Michael Goodenough as far as I’m concerned - he was Michael More-Than-Goodenough: the best, the very best. The world is diminished, and should be ashamed of such a talent being so underused. But he, and his family should be very proud he went for pursuinjg his “roaring” talent.
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