_ BILL McCUE
Having been with Scottish Opera ever since their first performance. Bill McCue can lay claim to having sung more than sixty roles. The next part he takes on. however. will have particular significance. McCue is singing Tevye in a production of Fiddler on the Roofthat marks the birth of his own brainchild. the Scottish Singers Company. This new company presents the musical at
Glasgow‘s Theatre Royal in December in conjunction with Scottish Opera. ‘It‘s something I‘ve had in mind fora long time.‘ says McCue. ‘I wanted to create a company that could exploit the talents ofthe many young singers I've seen around and at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.‘
If Fiddler is a success. McCue hopes it will herald the start of a permanent and unique new professional company in Scotland. whose aim will be to present mainly the lighter musical repertoire. concentrating on the musicals and music theatre for which he feels there is an unfulfilled demand. as only a few major companies can afford to tour large-scale musicals to Scotland.
Should the company take off. McCue hopes to mount one major musical and one new work a year. preferably written and choreographed by artists in Scotland. ‘I‘m sure there are talents out there waiting to be tapped.‘
This particular production is itself something ofan experiment — while the first run in Glasgow will involve Scottish Opera chorus and orchestra. the performances in Edinburgh‘s Playhouse early next year will use the same principals. but
the conductor. chorus and orchestra will be newcomers. McCue did the groundwork and canvassing for funds himself. and this production has been made possible by sponsorship from several banks. breweries. insurance companies and individuals (with Strathclyde Regional Council providing support in the form ofadvertising). and facilitated by the assistance of Scottish Opera. ‘We‘re very lucky that Scottish ()pera did a production in 1979— we were able to use the set etc.’
McCue also played Tevye — he‘s the one who. perhaps ironically. sings the immortal ‘IfI were a Rich Man‘ — in Scottish Opera's production. which gave gala performances before the Queen and Prince Philip and visiting international dignitaries. He seems unruffled. however. by either this success or the precedent set by the first ever production of Fiddler. which was the longest running Broadway show until A Chorus Line stepped in to break the record. In this production he sings alongside Una McLean. the well-known comedy actress. with whom McCue appeared earlier this year in Annie at Perth Rep. but who. for most people. is not imtnediately associated with singing. ‘She's a very underrated talent in my opinion.‘
McCue‘s own distinctive bass voice (‘My friends tell tne. McCue. you're the lowest ofthe low') emerged from under a bushel when he began to train as a singer while still working his apprenticeship as an electrician down the mine. ‘I didn't know you could earn your living by singing. I sang in the Boys‘ Choir and people used to tell me “You should get that voice trained." To be paid for what you love doing doesn‘t fall to many people.‘ After training at the RSAMD and the Royal Academy. London. McCue eventually joined Scottish Opera. where he has been nigh on 25 years. He‘s been offered contracts in Munich and Amsterdam. but. born and bred in Lanarkshire. is all too loathe to leave. ‘I‘ve got one and a half feet firmly planted in Scotland. . .' Fiddler on the Roofis at Theatre Royal. Glasgow5—27 Dec. and the Playhouse. Edinburgh 7—24 Jan.
YOUR WAY INTO CHRISTMAS BOOKS. TURN T0 P 49 FOR DETAILS OF OUR BOOK COMPETITION.
— PETER onmnoo
Eat The Peach. a modest but affecting tale ofaspiring no-hopers. currently tops the all—time box office charts at home in its native Ireland. competing with Hollywood‘s big-budget spectaculars because its sharp observation of the tenor of local life strikes a chord with Irish audiences. Following the progress of two country lads with redundancy money on their hands who build a motorcycle wall-of-death in an abortive bid for fame and fortune. director Peter Ormrod explains that the film is actually based on a true story: ‘I came across the events when I was working for RTE. the Irish state television service. because I was the reporter who did a short piece on it for the news. A couple of years later I went back to see the guy and it had all failed — he‘d actually chopped the wall down with a chainsaw — but he was building a helicopter. which for his own sake. I hope he never tried to fly.‘
Ormrod is well aware of the difficulties ofany small Irish ﬁlm competing in the morass ofthe English-speaking cinema marketplace. and likens his problems to those faced by the Scottish film industry: ‘You have a situation with a Scottish film or an Irish film where it‘s an English language film but you want to have national characteristics. without being parochial. That‘s the big dilemma. because certain things the home audience will understand people abroad won’t. so you want to make it a bit more accessible to them without losing your own local character. which is one of the best things you've got going for you.‘
He needn‘t worry about the film‘s reception in Scotland. for its blend of wayward characterisation and feelings of palpable affection for its shamblingly plucky heroes only go to show how remarkably similar are the Irish and Scots senses of humour. Comparisons with Bill Forsyth have already been made.
Perhaps it‘s just that kicking against the pricks is a fairly universal theme which makes the film so appealing. Ormrod has his own views: ‘I think it says something about the way we're all struggling to do Something. but never quite get the opportunity. Unemployment is a terrible blight and it seems that the more desperate your situation. the more desperate a scheme you cook up. In depressed areas there‘s this terrible sense that nothing will work. ‘The way in which the film‘s mock-heroic ending transcends such intimations ofdefeatism could hardly fail to raise a warm smile. And with success abroad. Ormrod‘s smiling too. (Trevor Johnston)
Issue no 30 28 Nov-11 Dec 1986
3 John McGrath.
The writer and director of Blood Red Roses talks to Sarah Hemming.
4 Annie Lennox.
Back in Scotland as part of a
European tour. the Eurythmics’
Annie Lennox talks to Pierre Perrone.
6 Oscar Marzaroli.
From Italy to the Gorbals:
photographer Oscar Marzaroli puts
Graham Caldwell in the picture about the ‘real Glasgow‘.
Bernard Mac Laverty.
The author of Cal talks to Sally Kinnes about his new film Lamb.
Listings Film 9 Art 29 Theatre 16 Classical Music 3-1 Cabaret 20 Folk 36 Dance 21 Jazz 37 Kids 22 Rock 39 Media 23 Sport 42 Open 24
Christmas Book Special and Competition 43. Food 50 Citylist 51
Publisher Robin Hodge.
Editors Nigel Billen. Sarah Ilemmingﬁlasgow EdilorGraham Caldwell. Associate Editor Allan l lunter. Design Simon Esterson. Advertising Robin Hodge. Accounts Georgette Renwick. Richard Gray. Typesetting Jo Kennedy. Aileen Jardine and IIewer Text. Production Editor Paul Keir. Production Assistantlanc Kennedy. Art Alice Bain. Books Alan Taylor. Classical MusicCarol Main. Dance Alice Bain. Film Allan Hunter. Trevorlohnston. Folk/Jazz Norman Chalmers. Kids Sally Kinnes. Media Nigel Billen. Sally Kinnes. Open Nigel Billen. Rock (Edinburgh) Alastair Mabbott. Rock (Glasgow) John Williamson. Sport Graham ('aldwell. Theatre Sarah Ilemming. Office Lynn Spowart. Camera Darien I’rintingCo. Cover: Annie Lennox.
The List 28 Nov — 11 De_c1