Irish comedian J imeoin’s idea of Belfast troubles is going on without a script. Brian Donaldson hears from a man addicted to crack — and there’s nothing political about it.
lfyou ever lind yourself at a Jimeoin show. don't expect him to launch into a tirade about the state of any nation or to dip into the comic possibilities of the peace process. The lrish joker‘s briefdoes not extend
to even ‘a little bit ofpolitics‘.
‘l avoid politics or topical things.‘ admits Jimeoin. ‘l genuinely wouldn't even crack a smile in my head when anyone mentions politics. Very often. it‘s just an easy joke and a way of showing off your intellect rather than just having a good fucking laugh. So many of the political comics are just so unsubtle and.
to my mind. just crap.‘
Jimeoin’s career kicked off in Australia in I990 ~ ‘l moved there to get away from London. basically‘ — and his reputation as a master at putting a spin on the everyday and the commonplace to pull an audience
Jimeoin: 10,000 punters can’t be wrong
together steadily grew. And alter all. |().()()() pttnters can‘t be wrong. For that was the total number who went to see him at this year's Edinburgh Festival. where he performed in two shows: a straight stand-tip routine and Jinwm’n xlml 130/) is ( ‘(mking Show.
The feeling that comes across from .limcoin is of a man working his way through a perfectly-honed script which. nevertheless. appears to be made up on the spot. Or perhaps he is just making it all up. The truth. as ever. lies somewhere inbetween. ‘I would never actually sit down and write anything.‘ he confesses. ‘l’m one of those people who wouldn't
dream of studying for an exatn. There is maybe about l() to 20 per cent that would be different front one show to another. but that‘s pretty difficult to achieve in itself. There was a classic the other night in Belfast when I really wanted to make a point of making it different. It wasn‘t until I went on stage that I realised that I'd put the pressure on myself. At the end ofthe day. it's got to be entertaining for the people
With Jimeoin arriving hot on the tails of tnessrs
‘i genuinely wouldn’t even crack a smile in my head when anyone mentions politics. So many of the political comics are just so unsubtle and, to my mind, just
Hughes. Byrne and Moran. could it be that the lrish are definitely coming? ‘l think it'sjust coincidence that we're all around at the same time.‘ believes Jimeoin. ‘No offence to yourself. but it's just a way forjournalists to get an angle or category where everyone has to be put in their box. You have to come from somewhere though.‘ he concedes.
At the moment. he probably doesn‘t know whether he‘s coming or going. currently in the eye of a marathon touring hurricane — ‘l'll have been on tour for about ten months by the time it's over.‘ he says. "fo be honest I'm getting a bit long in the tooth with
From there. shooting of The Crack ~ a comedy/ adventure film he wrote and will eo-produce —- will begin next year. A very busy man is .limeoin. Get along and experience his craic. (Brian Donaldson) Jimeoin. l’m's/ey Arts (Mitre. Thurs /4 Nov; Adam Smith Thea/re. K irkr'uldy. Fri [5 Nut'.‘ (Ii/(led [fill/(mil. Edinburgh Sui I6 Nrit‘
Aaghh! It lives again! Far from the dust settling, Bram Stoker’s ieftfield classic of two-pronged hickeys and quasi-sexual shenanigans continues to be resurrected with as much regularity as its lust-fuelled anti- hero. iiaving just enjoyed an original re-working by Northern Ballet Theatre, the story is set for another outing via Jon Pope’s adaptation for the Citizens’ Theatre.
The tale of the Transylvanian blood- sucker’s quest for young virgins is one most folks grew up with, quivering to the combined thrill and fear elicited by both the book and the numerous film versions. It is this very mix of emotion which Pope, who also directs the piece, believes is the ‘real hook oi Dracula.’
Pope is obviously a fan, having
Stuart Bowman: Dracula awoke the beast ln him
directed two other stage versions prior to this. ’The great thing about Dracula is that it’s absolutely undefinable,’ he says. ‘There are loads of angles on it which no one has ever got into one version.’ As the novel consists entirely of letters, diary entries and journals there are obvious difficulties in staging the piece. Despite contemporising it somewhat, Pope intends to provide a version more faithful than most, although he’s keen to point out that, ‘there’s not one nightie in sight.’
‘It’s important to get all the darkness in, and this very unsettling feel, as all the characters undergo some form of psychotic transformation as a result of the vampire.’ integral to the sinister atmosphere is a soundtrack by Adrian Johnston, the man behind the music for Jude, whose next project is for Michael Winterbottom’s forthcoming film Sarajevo.
Meanwhile, with predecessors like Bela lugosi and Christopher lee, the role of Dracula is one Stuart Bowman
couldn’t wait to get his teeth into, although he concedes it’s hard not to be influenced by his memorable forebears. ‘i wasn’t a big aficionado before, which helps,’ he says, ‘although i did have my first snog in front of a Saturday night Hammer film!’ looking beyond the trade-mark cloak and fangs, Bowman believes there is a sympathetic side to the dry-throated Transylvanian. ‘iie’s this dead guy who’s lost love and is actually seeking some sort of salvation. There’s a weariness about him throughout, as well as this self- hatred.’
Pope and Bowman agree that the horror yarn, far from being worn out, is as relevant today as it ever was. ‘The book deals with peoples’ paranoia and the need for a scapegoat,’ asserts Pope. ‘it’s all about foreign invasion and this fear of being taken over, which is very prevelant in our society today.’ (Claire Prentice)
Dracula, Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow, Fri 1-Sat 23 Nov.
The List I- I4 Nov 1996 51