‘This company has been known for its nationalistic following.‘ says Charles Nowosielski as he prepares to launch into the Brunton Theatre‘s Tenth Anniversary season. ‘but it‘s far more patriotic and terribly socialist in its formation. And it‘s got to be seen as such.‘

With a run that takesthe Musselburgh theatre through to next March. encompassing new productions of Scottish standards like James Scotland‘s Whisky Galore. CPTaylor‘s Good and a specially commissioned play about Musselburgh itself. Nowosielski is confident that his forth season is also his best. ‘Every single play. even the ones I‘m not directing. I honestly believe that I want todo them.‘ he says.

Kicking off the season is a revival of l {ector MacMillan's The Rising about the little known Scottish insurrection in 1820. ‘lt‘s not so muchthe subject of The Rising.‘ says Nowosielski. ‘but the fact that there are so many ofthese chapters of Scottish history that nobody knows about. It‘s a very minority interest.

' for example. i‘fsomebody knows about the massacre ofTranent in 1797 yet most of us know about Peterloo.‘

Hopefully the imbalance can be redressed as more people become involved in the theatre not only through its Scottish and international repetoire. but also its newly forming Writers‘ Workshops and Youth Theatre. ‘The Brunton is now on the map.‘ says Nowosielski. ‘but we have to make sure

grow and that we excite them enough to take

I chancesonthingsthey‘re not sure about.‘ (Mark Fisher).

The Rising runs at tlte Brunton Theatre. Musselburgh, 13—23 September.


‘lt's about lust for money. lust for young girls. lust for power.‘ says actor Dudley Sutton about Ben Jonson‘s Volpone. ‘They're not very difficult things for a man of 56 to understand!‘

‘lt‘s a very. very funny play that‘s lasted for hundreds of years.‘ he continues. ‘so it must be pretty robust. It‘s very wicked. I think Jonson‘s much more bitingand

36 The List 1— 14 September 1989

that audiences continue to




With the loons fae Scotland the What converging on Glasgow in September. ROSS PARSONS delves into comic folklore to find out how ‘Doric‘ humour manages to leave its homeland.

One of the central creeds in old comedic lore, next to that which holds the Mother-in-Law as dear as a venomous reptile. is that certain theatres are notoriously hard to please. Glasgow. for instance, has been known as a veritable Flanders Field ofdying comics, with the audiences as stonin silent as a deserted cobbled street. This belief in a chequered pattern ofdifferent types of humour spread across the nation has recently been enshrined in Ken ‘creative accountant‘ Dodd‘s Chuckle Guide to Britain. But does

modern than Shakespeare. Jonson‘s tough.‘

The Royal Lyceum is staging Volpone in period dress. but it is impossible to resist drawing contemporary parallels with a play that satirises the acquisitive society. ‘lt‘s the ultimate yuppie play.‘ says Sutton. ‘It‘s very alive and it‘s full of vibrations for today the insanity in the South especially; BMWs. the stock exchange and the whole thing. This is about greed for gold and how it completely corrupts. It‘s amazing how modern Jonson is.‘

Avoiding imposed concepts or additional pieces of comic business. llugh Hodgart‘s production is playing it straight and letting the comedy work for itself. ‘Really Jonson is about language.‘ says Sutton. ‘lt‘s all on the surface. It‘s so electric and it drives forward. What drives you crackers about learning it is that you‘ve got to get the motor going underneath it. I don‘t like concept productions very much. I like the way it's being done which is to let the play breath and let it decide how it should be staged.‘ (Mark Fisher). Volpone runs at the Royal Lyceum Theatre. Edinburgh. 8—30 September.

the idea that a sense of humour can vary from (variety) Palace to Palace still hold. can a joke that slays them in Skegness really die a death in East Kilbride Village Theatre? Ifso. how do the boys from Scotland the What cope with a plethora ofdifferent regional senses of humour. given that their wit and wisdom is so determinedly North-Eastern in origin? I

James Logan ofScotIand The What believes their experience tends to refute the Dodd school of thought: ‘We find there‘s very little difference in whit they find funny. it‘s a‘ part of the educational process for the rest of Scotland. Though when we come to Glasgow and Edinburgh we frankly regard ourselves as country cousins. the audiences there are very sharp and very quick especially in Glasgow.‘

TV. according to many people. has attuned the regional lug to many different accents and acts. to the extent that the old Music Hall maxims ofcomic acts martyring themselves on unknown stages no longer holds. Certainly the show. which the doggedly Aberdonian trio themselves believed would never take off outside their native shire. has become a big hit throughout Scotland. ‘The first time we were invited South we thought no. we daren‘t go. but then we were persuaded. and after a while we realised that we were the ones being conservative the audiences loved it.‘

Did they find that any ofthe Doric

I Adult Drama Gm" Theatre Guide and a U I I Classes The autumr‘iJ Theatre Awards .“P “‘l ‘h‘ “0“ “Hum season of classes at the ceremon?” flying?“ , Glasgow Arts Centre 12 I write“ walksmp m m5 mu"

Washington Street. begins 12 Septemberand continues every Tuesday thereafter. The Techniques Class isat 6—7.30pm and the Drama Class is at 8—l()pm. Contact Robin Wilson on ()41 221 4526 for further details.

I Upslage Theatre Company New members are very welcome to come along to the first autumn meeting ofGlasgow‘s amateur Upstage Theatre Company on Thursday 1-1 September at 8pm in Unitarian Church Hall. 72 Berkeley Street. Glasgow.

I Scottish Theatre Marketing Unit Nicola Golding has recently been appointed as the first Director of the Scottish Theatre Marketing L‘nit set up by the Federation of Scottish Theatre and aided by money from the Scottish Arts Council. ‘With a general renaissance of the arts in Scotland the Unit is being launched at a dynamic time and has huge potential.‘ says Golding whose aim is to generate new audiences for live theatre. Current ideas include the introduction of


a nationwide gift voucher scheme. a Scottish

Cumbernauld Theatre‘s Writers‘ Workshop begins its autumn run on 4 September at 7.30pm and takes place every other Monday. Call 0236 737235 for further details.


I Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Oil & Dracula Penguin. £3.99. Everybody‘s favourite writer. Liz Lochhead. gets the scripts for two ofher most popular plays into print. The rich Scots language of Mary Queen ofScots. . . helped win Communicado a Fringe First and Dracula was part ofthe Royal Lyceum‘s repertoire in 1985. A good




humour was lost in translation ‘No. not often. though occasionally we leave in a word deliberately to flummox the audience. sometimes even we don‘t know what it means. A recent example would be ‘florach‘ which Buff claims to have encountered somewhere in deepest. darkest Aberdeenshire. We had a bit of a debate over its etymology but it proved inconclusive.‘ Despite such perplexing teuchter terms. their humour. in the main. transfers very easily from its indigenous roots. ‘I think people recognise the authenticity of the accents. The core of the show is the writing and that‘s all firmly based on real characters that constantly ring bells in people‘s minds. If I did a Yorkshire accent. I could say Ee By Gum and it wouldn‘t be convincing.‘

Whilst TV may have removed some of the more extreme cases of parochialism amongst audiences. Scotland The What‘s success owes little to the medium. They can convince with their comic creations. due to the recognisany authentic nature oftheir characters, north of the border at least. Thus despite their acceptability all over Scotland. Dodd‘s law ofcomedy does seem to hold. as any northern comic would no doubt tell them they‘d be hard pressed to raise a laugh with a rhyme about the quinie fae Rhynie on a wet night in Scarborough.

I Scotland The What? Kings Theatre. 11—23 Sept. 7.30pm. £4.5()—£7.

' I John Goober: Five Plays Penguin. £5.99. A splendid chance to catch

favourites for over a

decade and perhaps the

most popular touring

: company in the country. Included here is Bouncers. which will visit

Cumbernauld in

November. 'I‘eechers, Up

'n ' Under. Happy Jack and

September in the Rain.


/’ ‘\



I Paradise is Closing Down & Other Plays Penguin.

£4.99. Another hit ofthe

'i Edinburgh Fringeis Pieter-Dirk L'ys whose stand-up lampooningof apartheid goes down a storm. He‘s also as well known as a playwright and collected here are three of his human and sensitive commentaries on the South African situation. An important read.