preview THEATRE

SOCIAL DRAMA The Millionairess Glasgow: Citizens’ Theatre Main

House, Fri 20 Mar—Sat 11 Apr. (Free

preview, Thu 19 Mar). he reputation of George Bernard

Shaw for preachiness is belied by this relatively obscure late play, to be directed by Giles Havergal, after his successful production of Shaw's little-known Widowers' Houses last year. 'As always, he's very entertaining, and raises some interesting subjects.’ says Havergal of Shaw. ‘But in this one he's not particularly polemical.‘

The play centres on Epifania Fitzfassenden, the minted chick of the title, a selfish but talented woman, whose marriage to the nondescript Alastair has just ended. Both have extra-marital lovers, but Epifania's life changes when she meets a Muslim doctor, bringing about a clash of both wills and

values which Havergal compares to Private Lives. Like Coward's marital comedy, the play requires star turns. Its last production of consequence was in the 1950s, when Katherine Hepburn played Epifania and Robert Helpmann the doctor. Anne Myatt and Tristram Wymark take on these parts, while Citz regulars such as Derwent Watson, Stuart Bowman and Matthew Radford add to

the talent.

Havergal emphasises the importance of the title role to the play's political allegory. ‘It's about this enormously powerful woman, a sort of Mrs Thatcher, really. She can achieve things because she’s very, very rich, but Shaw actually pays her the compliment of giving her a tremendous personality. She's a total bully who‘ll kick shit out of anyone who stands in her way. Shaw makes the point that in a well organised society people like this can be immensely valuable, but in a disorganised

Funny with money: Anne Myatt plays the title role in The Millionairess

one like ours they become tyrants. In its most serious sense, it’s about fascism.’

For all this, the play demonstrates a sense of fun, and a greater physicality, which Havergal feels will suit its appearance in the Citizens’ main auditorium, in contrast to his Widowers’ Houses in the Stalls studio. ’The fact that she’s a judo expert, and practices this a bit in the

play adds to the fun,’ he points out. ’It means there’s

coloured coincidences.‘

(Steve Cramer)

Heart Of Darkness

Glasgow: The Arches, Tue 24—Sat 28 Mar.

Jungle fever. Heart failure. Amphetamine psychosis. If Coppola’s Apocalypse Now is anything to go by, adaptations of Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness are best attempted only by the foolhardy or those on gibberlng terms with Mr Lunacy.

Mariela Stevenson is neither. As director of Glasgow-based tActional Theatre, she has been desperate

Apocalypse here: fActional Theatre's Heart Of Darkness

to stage Conrad", psychological novella \‘Jliltl' tr li‘. th: Story of Marlow, a steam-twat t-itt‘lzlt travelling deep into the Bel-;. in i I"l' to meet the b‘,‘llll)0llt lupize- 2‘? Kurt: an ivory trader 'gonr- Motto now, Stevenson had alxvay. lelzezwl it impOSSIhle Now, aiti r a improvrsatir.»n sessions, her is ready lor the stage and -- more relevant than ever ’Heart Of Darkness is C warning of what the ZOth century


Until tzurnlirr «? .ztlatvioll -l‘.

\I‘ h ' ()‘l‘y |

;).'llr:’_l ‘1

more action than people would suppose in Shaw. It can’t be done as just a realistic play, it’s got to be a kind of high-flown marital comedy. It's very larky, with over- characters

and plenty of smack—on

Havergal’s affection for Shaw is self-evident, and he hopes that for all the verbal wit of the play, it will go some way to dispelling his all-talk-no~action reputation.

would hold, but here we are heading into the 21$t century and things haven't (_l]rlll(]t.‘(l that much,’ she says 'Coniatl's taiiano ahout tribahsrn, racism and the destruttlve nature of min, but humanity's (‘apacrly for l>t.ttl.eiy is still prevalent This has been the bloodiest telitizrv St) lar,‘

in this promenade production, the audleni e Will follow ivlarlrw [litulhjll a senes oi "mortally ((x'l‘slltKlWJ tunnels to the aettrngu for narrous went-s from the boot: Ihey wall C/I‘Ii‘l'lé'llit‘ the junoie trek, and even take part Hi the at one point they wrll help raise a stearn-hoat item a swamp

'1? makes Lt‘ll't,‘ to tale the audience on the journey, heiause It's a voyage into llYt’il' own heart of rlarlznexsfl says Stevenson. W! of u‘, have the capacity


for t-vii .illil do. .ravlty'

The play upon unprcvisatzon, dllt’lllll] from lllljlll to ought. Ct train (ruclal points 7- Stii'll as the, meeting between Marlow and Kurtz are hardy delde In the novella, but have been developed in rehearsals These lattors should lend the performanch a leel perhaps best destinbed as 'hve and dangerous. (Peter Rossl

.Ilfs’.) rehe;

Stage whispers

Freshly plucked fruits from the thespic grapevine . . .

A FORMER HOME of the Citizens' Theatre, Glasgow Unity Theatre, Tyrone Guthrie's Scottish National Players, the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama, and even The List’s Glasgow office - the Old Athenaeum Theatre on Glasgow's Buchanan Street has been headquarters of Scottish Youth Theatre (SYT) since it bought the building in 1989. Now, the building has changed hands again. SYT's administration office will move to Gordon Chambers in Mitchell Street. Meanwhile the company’s final production at the venue has just opened. The appropriately ambitious and funereal choice is Hamlet. . .

FIGURES RECENTLY RELEASED by the Edinburgh International Festival show an accumulated £81,000 deficit cleared in a single year - hearteningly ahead of its two-year plan. The boost is mainly attributed to last year's improved ticket sales (7.6% up on 1996), which now account for more than a third of the Festival’s total budget; while private sponsorship (at just over one quarter of the total) has overtaken the grant from Edinburgh Council. Now £20,000 in the black, the Festival is in healthy shape, and preparing optimistically for this year‘s difficult final week (1-5 Sep), which will take place after the Fringe has officially finished. The 1998 Festival's programme will be announced on Wed 25 Mar.

WITH A SPRING in its step, Scottish Ballet pirouettes back into action this fortnight with the darkly romantic Tales Of Hoffman (see page 68). During a year that might tactfully be described as 'difficult’ the company lost its board and its artistic director during a nasty and prolonged skirmish with the Scottish Arts Council. With a new board in place and a show on the road, a revitalised Scottish Ballet has now undertaken a worldwide search for a new artistic director. Amateurs need not apply.

John Austin plays Hamlet in Scottish Youth Theatre's swansong at the Old Athenaeum

F“ .

20 Mar—2 Apr 1998 THE U815?