The best part of "Keith Moon: The Real Me" is when Keith Moon is drumming.
Mick Berry, creator of, and sole actor, in the show, is a stupendous drummer (and co-author of "The Drummer's Bible"). But he doesn't quite have the acting chops to pull off the varied characters in his tale of the rise and fall of the most infamous member of The Who.
After developing the piece at the Marsh in The City last year, Berry has moved to the larger Eureka Theatre, where he and fellow musicians – Jef Labes on keyboards, Jesse Scott on bass and Ric Wilson on guitar – provide a soundtrack many volumes louder than the demure musical theater fare often at the venue.
The songs come off pretty well, from opening strains of "Baba O'Riley," through "I Can See for Miles" "See Me, Feel Me," "Won't Get Fooled Again" and "The Real Me."
Yet Berry's well-researched story – though refreshingly chronological and packed with details about one of rock's original bad boys and his drug abuse and mayhem – is muddled and lacks drama.
The problem, in part, stems from Berry's portrayals, which aren't nuanced. He's not particularly convincing as Moon, and less so as the people in Moon's life, from bandmates Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend to wife Kim Kerrigan and personal assistant Dougal Butler. The context of the line often provided the clue to the person talking.
Fans familiar with Moon may enjoy the anecdotes, from the first instrument smashing incident to the car-in-the-hotel pool stunt. And some of the lines are funny, such as the early assessment of "Tommy," which, like all operas, has a "stupid story."
Despite what clearly is Berry's labor of love, "The Real Me" has a way to go before it manifests Moon's mystique and magic.Keith Moon: The Real Me
Where: Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 7 p.m. Sundays; closes July 28
Contact: (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com