John Malkovich made his Radio 4 debut this week, playing a chimp. One always expects the unexpected from this most singular of actors – but even so, Me, Cheeta: My Life in Hollywood (Saturday) was full of wonderful surprises.
Adapted from the book by James Lever, this was the imagined “memoir” of the ape who starred in the early Tarzan movies, and who went on to become the longest-living chimp on record. It began with Cheeta, now living in retirement in Palm Springs, lounging by the pool and reflecting on his life’s work.
Cheeta, in Lever’s rendering, is a tragicomic mixture of simian nature and human nurture. He began life in the jungle, with a beloved mother whose coat, he now realises, was...
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