My theatricalness


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I never got back to you about the show we did on Saturday night did I?

Well, the first and most amazing thing was, come the time, I was quite calm. However, as the hall filled and the tension mounted we realised that the thermostat was set at 30 degrees and over 100 people were in a small space. Consequently it was hot. Really hot. Really, really hot. Sweaty hot.

Nonetheless, I managed all of my duties, including the rendition of a newly composed Trinity ghost story. I’m pleased to report that the jump at the end was carefully orchestrated so that the older members of the audience failed to have heart failure and the youngers succeeded in emptying their bowels.

Result.

My next appearance…


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I will be performing on Saturday night at 7.30 in the Forth Adults Theatre Christmas fundraising show which promises to be a right good Christmas heart warmer.  It’s at Holy Cross Church Hall in Bangholm Loan, but if you want tickets best make contact before the night as it will sell out.

My fellow uber-talents will be singing a range of Christmas crackers, but singing solo scares me too much so, perhaps appropriately I’ve decided to scare the audience in a different way. So I shall be debuting a freaky ghost story that is a real chiller.

I’m shitting myself just thinking about it.

Mary Rose by The Royal Lyceum Theatre Company


OK, I have to start by declaring an interest here. I have recently been appointed as a Director of The Lyceum, which is a huge honour for me and something that I suspect would have found favour with the old man. With this comes the privelege of attending all of the press nights which means a couple of tickets, a glass or three of wine and the best seats in the house. Row A of the Grand Circle to be precise.

It does also, of course, run the risk of watching shows that I don’t actually enjoy.

However, that was certainly not the case tonight; or at either Macbeth or Something Wicked This way Comes, as all three have been outstanding in different ways.

Mary Rose is a ghost story, set over a twenty five year period between the wars and written by Peter Pan creator, JM Barrie. It’s rumoured to be Alfred Hitchcock’s favourite play and one can certainly see why in that it plays with suspense in much the way Hitch did. Hitch claimed that his secret was in winding an audience up through suspense for 15 minutes at a time reasoning that this was more effective than short sharp shocks and this production unquestionably achieves that. For a ghost story there are precious few shocks in it but it’s psychologically chilling (in the same way as The Others – one of my favourite ever horror movies.)

It’s very rarely performed, but did hit London in 1972 with Mia Farrow in the lead and eponymous role. Kim Gerard had the job to do tonight, heading up a very strong cast with stand out performances by Michael Mackenzie, Perri Snowdon and John Ramage.

It’s very much a period piece with the language very evocative of a bygone, highly mannered, era, but it cracks along with no shortage of humour which certainly had the audience tittering.

At its heart it’s a really spooky tale, not unlike Peter Pan in that it deals with the process of ageing in a quite unique way. (Funnily enough, so did Something Wicked…). It deals principally with loss, love and change.

The production is superbly eerie with great use of sound design, set flying and lighting and Tony Cownie’s brilliant direction succeeds in creating a mood of unearthliness. As several of the audience commented to me at the interval, the good thing about this play is that nobody knows it and you simply do not know what’s going to happen next, or how the tale will unravel, so I’ll not say too much for fear of spoiling it for you.

Overall, this is what theatre is all about; involving, engrossing, funny and, unusually, spooky. I’d strongly recommend it.

My biggest surprise of the night was Una McLean’s delightful cameo role as the Caretaker. Una won’t remember me but I worked with her at The MacRobert Centre in 1983 (or so) on Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. She was great fun and one of my fondest memories of the theatre was the night we mooned each other in the wings.

Lordy, lordy. Good old Una.