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Ten years on from TV stardom, actress Kirsty Miller goes back to basics — and her home town, Cumbernauld — with the Stagestrux company’s new play, Skip the Memories. Stuart Bathgate reports.
Most of us prefer not to remember what we were doing a decade ago. Think back, and chances are that embarrassment will be one of your first reactions. Kirsty Miller, however, knows only too well what she was doing in the early months of 1981. People still approach her at bus stops and tell her, just in case she'd forgotten. ‘They sort of come up and look at me,’ she says, ‘then go “Weren’t you that wee lassie in that thing on TV?” I think I look a lot different — I was only 18 then after all — but if my hair’s dyed black or is its natural mousey brown, they remember. I was really into peroxide for a while, a real heavy two-bottles-a-day habit,’ she adds ironically. ‘And then it was different. Then they’d ask if I was Muriel Gray.’
The wee lassie in question was the title role in Maggie, BBC’s 18-part serial about a teenager from Cumbernauld who wanted to go to university, and had a posh boyfriend
called James who lived (of course) in Edinburgh. The theme tune was written and sung by B.A. Robertson, but that couldn’t stop the series' success, which resulted in Kirsty being subjected to the usual routine of opening fétes. doing interviews, and making a guest appearance on Saturday Superstore.
In the ensuing decade Kirsty has had a mixed bag of acting experiences, touring with Jimmy Logan, doing further TV work in Taggart and City Lights, and appearing in Red River Blues at Mayfest. All the time, though, the spectre of the sulky schoolgirl lurked in the background. hindering her from winning more complex, adult roles. This month, however, she is back in Cumbernauld, acting in Skip the Memories, a new three-hander written and directed by her father. Brian John Miller.
‘Since Maggie I’ve played a lot of perky teenagers,‘ she says. ‘And I’m 28 now. In Skip The Memories I play
a 20—yearoold, but it’s a part with a bit of power-dressing in it, so it‘s nice to play a character who’s meant to be a bit more sophisticated. Maggie was an incredible experience, but over the years it’s got to the point that I haven’t done very much that’s made me work very hard; it’s the nature of the business that you tend to be given parts that are quite close to your character. It was good last year when I was Isabel of Carrick in Wallace: Guardian of Scotland , because I had to go hysterical and pretend I was pregnant. For once I didn’t have to be perky and bubbly.’
In Skip The Memories. Brian’s twentieth play since he began writing in 1969, Kirsty plays Ali, a smart, successful woman who returns to Glasgow to burst the nostalgic bubble of Abie and Gilbert, two old codgers who make their way through life on memories and an overdraft. One of the men -— she is not. at first. sure which one — is her grandfather. While the play's first halfis largely
The List8-21 February 199159