lfvou take the second to the right and go straight on till the Theatre Royal. you‘ll find Scottish Ballet embarking on a novel
I venture. They are performing the first full length ballet of‘Peter Pan’. : The shadowy. dreamy world of Never Never Land will
take on new balletic dimensions: Scottish Ballet are translating Barrie‘s play for children into a new medium and are providing an original interpretation ofthe familiar work.
Barrie‘s play ‘Peter Pan. OrThe Boy Who Would Not Grow Up‘ was first performed on December 27th 1904 to rapturous applause. Over the decades. Barrie re-worked the play several times. turning it eventually into a children‘s novel too. Graham Lustig. choreographer of‘Peter Pan: The Ballet‘. has drawn material from both sources. He has also revised the text to incorporate the requirements of ballet. by introducing extra fairies to the third act and by expanding the Mermaid‘s Lagoon scene. Such alterations give scope for ensemble dancing and a more magical aura. Scottish Ballet is in many respects moving away from the burlesque of pantomime. Peter Pan has traditionally been played by a woman in a tunic and high boots. Graham Lustig has cast a male ballerina in the role. The boy who, at a performance of Barrie's play in the early days. was much concerned about the sex of Peter Pan would now be mollified. At the time. he checked actress Pauline Chase‘s male authenticity with the questions: ‘(an you whistle‘." and “What do you think of girls'." Chase whistled and replied ‘Rotten' to the boy's apparent satisfaction. Tinkerbell, however. does retain all her jealous-female characteristics in a role which Lustig describes as that of
a ‘spit and grit‘ ballerina.
The score for the ballet. composed by Edward McGuire. is entirely new
too. As in past McGuire
compositions. traditional Scottish folk melodies are much in evidence: (‘aptain Hook performs a solo to the tune of the Strathspey in Act Three and Peter and the children celebrate
victory to a reel.
A N EW BR0 0 M One of the most misunderstood groups living in these isles must be the travelling folk. A self- contained and often maligned people, there is relatively little documenta- tion of their lives and traditions. ‘I think people are afraid of what they don't know,‘ says Anne Downie, who has recently had cause to find out more about them.
In her capacity as playwright (she is also an
to dramatise one of the few
: Whyte's autobiography,
5 19305. She read the book, : warmed to it instantly, and
l actress), Anne Downie was I
approached by Winged i Horse Theatre Company. l and asked ifshe would like
books written by the travelling people -- Betsy
The Yellow on the Broom, about her years growing up in the Highlands during the
set to work -- ﬁnding the experience a fascinating eye-opener. ‘It gave me at least some insight into the
A traditional female feter complete with
Fans of the traditional story will be pleased to know that Peter Pan will be flying and not just dancing. An early child-critic‘s comments that ‘Peter’s hanging on a piece ofstring’ will again be apt.
The flood of ‘Peter Pans‘ that saturated the book and theatre markets last year occurred because Barrie‘s work came out ofcopyright. Many companies opted to continue paying a percentage of the royalties to the beneficiaries, the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children. Scottish Ballet will be doing so too. Their Charity Gala Premiere on February 24th is in aid ofthe Royal Hospital for Sick Children. Yorkhill, Glasgow. Scottish Ballet ’5 Peter Pan runs from 24th February to 4th March at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow.
: tavelling folk, and how
they were treated.'She was faced with a battery of
Involving hundreds of characters, the book dots back and forward in time, and to and fro in location - while the company have one stage and ﬁve actors at their disposal. ‘We decided to make a virtue of it,’ explains Downie. 'We’ve tried to use the oral story- telling tradition of the travelling folk to recreate the tales.’
The company have also tried to retrieve traditional songs and ballads, with help from the School of Scottish Studies at Edinburgh University. ‘We’re using songs that her family used,’ says Downie. ‘We also have the song by Adam McNaughton, 'The Yellow on the Broorn' that he wrote as a tribute to her. when he read the book.’ The title of McNaughton's song, Betsy's book and Downie's play, refers to the phrase that Betsy's father used to use to console her mother when they were wintering over in a house. 'He would say "Never mind, we'll be back outside as soon as the yellow’s on the broom",' explains Downie. Betsy clearly inherited the same deep-rooted desire to keep moving. Though Downie met her when she had given up travelling, and was living in a house in Montrose, she clearly had never quite settled to life indoors in one place: ‘She told me that she had found it hard to adjust. She would often go to the window and say ‘Oh, I wish I was out there".’ (Sarah Hemming) The Yellow on the Broom: on tour. See Touring listings.
— KELLY’S EYE
Gerard Kelly is getting about Scotland in more ways than one. His muchrloved character in City Lights. Willie Melville, is about to appear in a new incarnation on stage. as the popular television sit-com. adapted by its author. Bob Black. sets offon a tour ofthe nation‘s theatres (starting with the Kings‘. Glasgow). Meanwhile 7:84 Scotland are already up and running all over the Central Belt with their production of TheSash, directed, with considerable punch — by Gerard Kelly. Directing this production will be just one of Kelly‘s new responsibilities for 7:84 however, since under the new artistic director. David Hayman. he has become Associate Director.
Staged briefly at last year‘s ‘Scottish Accents' Festival at the Traverse Theatre. Ann-Marie Di Mambro‘s Sheila won many people‘s hearts. A gentle, affectionate comedy, it focuses on Glasgow University student, Sheila. and how her life is interrupted by two interior decorators. You can find out what
happens plenty of ways this month — either listen in when the play is broadcast on Radio Scotland on 12 Feb (see media). or catch it on tour. in aTraverse Theatre double-bill with [)ead Dad Dog, from 23 Feb (see Touring listings) - or even do both.
‘It's something that has been cooking around in my brain for a long time — 2 or 3 years in fact .' says Linda Kerr Scott ofher new one-woman show A ve Maria. Those who saw Theatre dc Complicite's Please Please Please, a vibrant. mime-based piece oftragicomic low-life that encapsulates well the company‘s style. may remember her as the maniac Mum. a kind of miniature whirlwind in dressing gown and curlers — and it was at the suggestion of Complicité director Annabel Arden that she crystallized her ideas into a solo performance.
A Scottish ballet training and 10 years as a dancer in Europe, left Kerr Scott longing for an alternative to ballet’s formal. rigid discipline. So. like many of Complicité‘s members, she spent 2 years at Jacques Lecoq‘s mime school in Paris and freely admits that the school‘s work is fundamental to the Complicité approach. ‘It gives us a kind of communal physical language. a common working basis — which is very necessary in acompany made up ofso many different nationalities.‘
Paris also left her with a memory that is the germ ofA ve Maria. ‘I met an old French lady who had holed herself up in a tiny garrct room for 15 years. never letting anyone in, purely out of shame. That‘s just one example of the lives thousands of women lead in places all over the world.‘ The Show revolves around the pathetic figure of ‘Mrs M'. a self-righteous spinster scratching out a solitary life, armed only with a battery of daily rituals. God‘s wrath and a wild imagination. This is theatre that plays merrily upon the eccentricities of a life of habit and mundanity, blending minutely observed characterisation and hilarious clowning into a bitter-sweet study of loneliness and boredom.
I asked whether Ms Kerr Scott's diminutive frame and ageless, worn looks meant being stereotyped into batty old lady roles. ‘No, [don‘t think so. When I dothose
kind of parts it's because I choose to. There‘s something about being at the bottom of the social scale that means a freedom to really speak out and express things. That’s perhaps why Complicite‘s shows seem to involve such odd collections ofpretty scruffy characters.‘ (Simon Bayly)
A ve Maria: 0n tourto Theatre Workshop. Edinburgh, together with My A rmy. (bmplicite 's othershow, an acclaimed production of The Visit. is at St Brides' Centre. Edinburgh. See Listings.
A new service run in conjunction with the Scottish Council For Disability starts in this issue of The List. Overthe coming months we will be expanding on venue information of relevance to disabled people. The project begins withthe Theatre section and it‘s hoped that over the next few issues all the venues listed in this section will jointhe venues encoded
this time. During
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The List 10— 23 February 21