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Dorothy Paul is back with a one- woman show that’s lined-up for international success. She tells Mark Fisher what her secret is.

‘When we started, we were thinking, oh we have to do 50 per cent business at the Tron . . . Oh my God, the costs have gone up, I’m going to have to do 60 per cent!’ recalls Dorothy Paul about the humble beginings eighteen months ago of her one-woman

‘How can you wrlte comedy If you’ve had a really happy time? Glasgow humour does not come from happlness.’

show. See That’s Her. ‘I ended up doing 110 and they asked me back for another week.’

That was only the start. The show, revived early last year for main-house dates at places like the Glasgow Pavilion, was filmed for Hogmanay TV and transferred to a best-selling video. Now Paul is launching the follow-up, That's Her Again, which, like its predecessor, is starting off small at the Civic Theatre, Ayr, and the Tron, Glasgow, but already has been lined up to go into the big theatres and onto television for 1994. Meanwhile, Paul is considering offers to tour the show to Australia and is negotiating deals with TV companies there, in New Zealand and in Canada. ‘Yet Aberdeen haven’t taken it,‘ she says with a wry humour.

Her material may be packed with ex-pat nostalgia appeal. but Paul’s swift success is as much due to the level of enthusiasm, sparky wit and sharp attention to human detail that she invests in her work. The first show was a meander through Glasgow tenement life. her own theatrical career and the early days of TV showbiz progamming. Interspersed with dancing,

I singing and jokes aplenty. the self-written material

was rich in anecdote and strong on observation and

~‘ earned Paul regular standing ovations.

But for all the success, Paul holds back from making any great claims for her follow-up, That’s Her Again, which she wrote in a concentrated seven-

week slog after the annual bout of pantomime. ‘I’m

. over it. When you’re going through it, it’s not a lot of '

never confident until I go on stage and I see the audience reaction.’ she says, cautiously admitting to having learned lessons from the first show. ‘It is innate in me to give my best and I’ll worry about that until the end of the tour. I don’t believe anybody achieves anything without hard work. I’ll get eleven out of ten for trying, I'm sure of that.’

Made up of real-life family stories (and some not so I.

real-life), memories of her time as a teacher and passages of observational comedy, That’s Her Again draws on Paul’s own past but. she argues. avoids sentimentality by presenting the material from a

modem-day perspective. ‘I have a very contemporary

thing close to the end of the first half which deals with depression.‘ she says. ‘and it’s very funny. Depression’s always good for a laugh once you’re

laughs. It’s not anybody else’s depression, this was my depression. Anything is funny with hindsight.’ Hindsight, yes; but also a hard-edged Glasgow

sense of humour that can always be relied on to pull 7 you back from nostalgic indulgence with a dry put-

down or a bitter one-liner. ‘Someone once said to me you must have had a very happy childhood,’ says

‘Depresslon’s always good for a laugh once you’re over It.’

Paul. ‘How can you write comedy if you‘ve had a ' really happy time? Glasgow humour does not come from happiness. I tell you what it comes from, it’s a

thing that I did with my teaching with youngsters.

. You think that you‘re the oddity and everybody else

is OK, until you learn as you get older that you‘re

'just the same. That’s where the humour comes from:

as a child, as a teenager, you think you‘re so

, isolated.‘

By operating in this field of emotion, Paul reckons

I that she can appeal to all ages and. indeed. all

Dorothy Paul: eatfluslasm, wit and attenthm to detall ; cultures. When I saw See That’s Her early in its run, '- it was attracting a predominantly elderly audience, 5 but Paul is pleased to report that as the tour

; progressed she

f faces, and this time round she has written with a broader audience in mind. ‘I always remember, we 5 did The Steamie up in Dunferrnline and these big,

! tall. good-looking people came up and said in an

3 American accent, “We really enjoyed the show, it i was wonderful, S understand, but you know . . i that must be your background, it must be in your genes. the Scottish thing”. And they said. “I don‘t

think so, we’re , lovely.’

{ That’s Her Again, on tour, Fri 9Apr—Sat 5 Jun.

was noticing more and more young

some of the words we didn’t And I said, “Oh well

Red Indian!” I thought that was

_ Age on

A few years ago, Flrst Framework scored a mlnor hIt on the Edlnburgh Frlnge wlth a play called Trlo In E. It was successful enough to lustlfy recordlng on vldeo, but by the tlme the camera crew was booked, one of the three performers had gone off to France. At the last minute the company managed to recast the role wlth a young unknown by the name of Antonia de Sancha.

To avold gettlng on the wrong slde of the llbel laws, let’s lust say she falled to Mt It off wlth the company, and after a day or so In front of the

i. . cameras, the week’s fllmlng was called off. That would have been the


end of It, were It not for the natlonal exposure of De Sancha’s relatlonshlp wlth one Davld Mellor some tlme later. As soon as the story broke, a fast- thlnklng Flrst Frameworker leapt stralght to the phone and sold the half-forgotten footage to the TV news. Instantly a slzeable cheque was In the

Whlch Is all a long-wlnded lntroductlon to the company’s latest productlon, funded In effect by De Sancha; a collaboratlon wlth London’s Mary Ward Drama Group on Shakespeare’s The Tempest. The noteworthy aspect about the Mary Ward Drama Group Is that Its members are all over the age of 80, and thls productlon comes to Edlnburgh as part of the St Brlde's Gentre’s older

generatlon festlval. Gle It Laldy, Ilnklng In also wlth the European Year of Older People and Solldarlty Between Generatlons.

But forget any Image of gerlatrlc amdrams you mlght have seen. Under the dlrectlon of Peter Avery, the group ls followlng up lmaglnatlve productlons of llbu IIol, Sprlng Awakenlng and The Government Inspector wlth a Tempest that explores Shakepeare's Island fantasy wlth vldeo monltors, elaborate costumes, choreography and orlglnal muslc, provlng that the words ‘fresh’, ‘challenglng’ and ‘avant-garde’ are not the excluslve province of the l under-30s. (Mark Flsher) f The Tempest, 8t Drlde's Centre, I

The List 9-23 April I993 41

Edlnburgh, Mon 19-8at24 Apr.