Ghost of a ance
Scrooge, who returns next month in Northern Ballet Theatre’s Christmas Carol, never fails to bring a seasonal downer. Bah humbng, says Ellie Carr, he’s a lovely man.
Jeremy Kerridge is a small. wiry. Sussex-born ballet dancer and a very nice bloke. ’ou can tell he's a nice bloke because he's softly spoken. ever so charming and endlessly enthusiastic about his craft. Appearances. however. can be mighty deceiving. Several nights :1 week. our mild-mannered friend dons a pair of ﬁngerless gloves. screws up his facial muscles into hideous form. and becomes the stingiest. most odious man in town.
Fortunately. this unpleasant alter-ego is not unleashed in the pub when it comes to getting in his round. but on stage with Britain‘s most up—tempo ballet company. Northern Ballet Theatre in their hugely successful dance adaptation of Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Kerridge — also NBT‘s principal character artist and assistant ballet master — is Scrooge. and as far as he‘s concerned it‘s a plum role to have landed.
‘I love it.‘ he says. ‘l love the part. i love the character. Funnily enough. i like the nasty side of
Eezer goode: ieremy Kerridge as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol
him more — some people might say l‘m wrong — but it's not very me. Obviously I like the end when everything's nice and he becomes much happier. but i like the meanness, the tniser side of Scrooge at the beginning.‘
Kerridge has had plenty of time to get used to his role as the world‘s tnost famous miser. A combined effort between NBT’s dynamic artistic director. Christopher Gable. hotshot Italian choreographer Massimo Moricone. innovative designer Lez Brotherston. modern composer Carl Davis and a castful of singing (yes singing) ballet-dancers. A Christmas Carol was ﬁrst performed in I992 before
being ﬁlmed for BBC2 and beamed to the nation on Christmas Day 1993. I
Since then. Kerridge has been in and out of ﬁngerless gloves and frayed nightshirts more times than Scrooge has checked on his bank balance. but his love of playing the old man shows no signs of waning. In part. this can be attributed to his total involvement with the role from its earliest hours. Gable. whose own career runs from Royal Ballet soloist to acting credits in a string of Ken Russell movies. is notorious in the ballet world for his belief that dancers are more than just dumb tools for the choreographer‘s art. When Gable ﬁrst approached Kerridge to play Scrooge. it was on the understanding that he should help create the role he would eventually play. As Kerridge points out. this is most unusual in a world where dancers are more used to being handed steps and drilled soundly in a director‘s given style.
‘lt's very unique to this company. Chris [Gable] wants us to believe what we‘re doing on stage. and we've got to believe what we‘re doing long before the audience see it. Obviously if things don‘t work he will say so.‘ A sound off heard ringing round the studio. Kerridge quips. is the sound of Cable yelling. ‘1 don't believe that. Forget it. Let’s try something else.’
‘He has to be utterly convinced.‘ says Kerridge. ‘Even though he knows the story inside out he has to be convinced that the audience will believe it.‘
It‘s a nice. whole. rounded production really.’ says Kem'dge in summary of A Christmas Carol. ‘Thene's comedy in it. there‘s pathos in it. there‘s singing. it‘s a real entertainment. That‘s what we have tried to do over the years: to bring not just your girls in tutus
.and your traditional Swan Lakes. but a real story that
audiences of all ages can understand and really get involved in.‘
A Christmas Carol. Northern Ballet Theatre. Edinburgh Festival Theatre. Wed 3—Sat 13 January.
WORKS IN PROGRESS
Audiences don’t usually see the cutting edge of play-writing. By the time a script is rehearsed, retined and ready to perform, months may have gone by and the writer is often thinking and writing about other
Three recent showcases at Glasgow’s Tron Theatre gave audiences a peek into unpolished work. ‘it gives us a chance to gauge an audience’s reaction to a play before we spend loads of money on it,’ said Tony Graham of TAG Theatre Company, who directed the first showcase, Andrew nailmeyer’s Fatwa Patols.
Dalimeyer is an established talent in contemporary Scottish writing. Callgarl, his ghostly, surreal adaptation of the silent screen classic, recently finished a triumphant
the rehearsed reading.
and deals with the dangers of blind faith. it is a story ilalimeyer has been working on for six years -— ‘and I’m still not happy with it,’ he declared after
The showcases also give the Tron a chance to show its diversity. Forbes Masson’s new musical, St]!!! is about a man who makes a pact with the devil in return for fame and sex. Masson (who also plays the central role) is well known to the Tron's audiences as a writer and performer in panto, as Alan Cumming’s other half in the Victor and Barry duo (as well as the TV comedy The Iiigh life), irorn the
The author of over 40 plays, musical farce Bumhstruck, and for including The Boys in the Backroom several more serious roles, most (1982) and A Brand Scam (1991), recently in The Trick Is to Keep
Stiff is an all-singing, all-dancing, Scottish comedy Br Faustus. A five- day rehearsal period led to stumbled llnes, blunders and improvised gags,
The last showcase shared much of this freshness. ‘Thls will be the first time we’ve done the play the whole way through,‘ artistic director Michael Boyd announced nervously before the performance. Commissioned by the Tron from Anthony iieiison, whose play Penetrator was recently revived at the theatre, The Love We Find Ourselves is a Hitchcockian thriller about an ageing film director drawn to a haunted Scottish island to make his last film.
Like the two earlier showcases, this may or may not be staged in future as a full-scale production. Past form augurs well for those that are: earlier examples include Tony iloper’s The Steamie, Mike Cullen’s The Cut and Janice Galloway’s The Trick Is to Keep Breathing. For the time being, these showcases give an indication of the richness and variety of the pies in which the Tron has its fingers. (James
run at the Arches Theatre. Fatwa which added to the efiect: it would Blake)
Petals is the story of a Glasgow ioke- almost be a shame to lose this under- See The list’s Theatre sectlon next shop owner who is a dead ringer for rehearsed spontaneity in a full year for news of future productions at notorious novelist Solomon iiashide, production. the Tron.
The List l5 Dec l995-ll Jan l996 75