CLASSICAL BALLET Great Expectations

Edinburgh: Festival Theatre, Tue lB—Sat 17 Jun.

When it comes to juicy female roles, there aren’t many women who would jump at the chance to play a demented old spinster. But when the spinster in question is the legendary Miss Haversham, the appeal becomes far more obvious. Dickens’ jilted bride has prompted many an actress to don a ragged wedding dress and menacing look, with Charlotte Rampling being the most recent owner of the dusty veil in the BBC TV adaptation.

Playing a fiftysomething delu- sional may be a gift to an actress in her prime, but to a 28-year-old ballet dancer, it’s more of a challenge. Principal Artist with Leeds-based Northern Ballet Theatre, Charlotte Broom is no stranger to narrative dance. The company’s reputation for staging remarkable adaptations has seen the dancer sex it up in Carmen and dress it down in The Brontes, but Great Expectations has proved one of her toughest roles to date.

’lt's great to have a character with all those complexities,’ says Broom. 'But I also found it quite challenging because she's supposed to be an older lady, and it was difficult to get the balance right between conveying these deep emotions and feelings and still making it interesting to watch and not too lacking in energy.’

Director/choreographer and former artistic director Stefano Giannetti helped take the spring out of her youthful step. 'We started off doing these high jetés across the stage, but with a feeling of anguish,’ explains Broom. ‘But Stefano said no, you look much too young doing that step. I had to try being a little bit more reserved and

. i r“

Charlotte Broom creates her own version of Miss Haversham

elegant, and it suddenly made me look older.’

Arguably the finest classical dance-theatre company in Britain, Northern Ballet Theatre demands not just technical excellence of its dancers, but a high standard of acting too. And with three alternate casts performing the show at any one time, Broom also takes on the role of ice-cold love interest Estella when not stepping out as Miss Haversham. Fortunately, eight years with the company has found Broom well-schooled in the art of research.

'I read the book, saw the film, watched the TV adaptation,’ says Broom. ’And you do get some ideas, but it's still up to you to create your own interpretation. Plus of course, they can speak; we have to make sure we can communicate through our movement and our bodies. So no matter how many actresses you watch playing Miss Haversham or Estella, you still have to do it in a completely different way.’ (Kelly Apter)

woman With a past, ostr‘atised hy london so(iety but attempting a reroni iliation through the title (hararter‘s hushand, this woman is far more \VOTIdly-VVISO than lady Brarknell hut setretly, more humane S(anda| is (reated around lord Windermere by his dSS()(|<il|()ll With her, but his real motive is to reintrodure his wrle to the mother she knows nothing of Goddard relishes the role a( tresses' dream to play a part like this It starts oil as (omedy and ends as tragedy It expresses so many emotions that it's exhausting to play, but rewarding '

But how (ontemporary rs it" ‘At the time, Wilde poked fun at an upper (lass audreiue, and they loved him for it,' she says 'We still like poking fun at

'lt's every


Lady Windermere's Fan Edinburgh: King's Theatre, Mon

19—Sat 24 Jun.

’l'm mad about ()s(ar My amhition now is to play the other two ladies, theri (ome hark to play Miss Prism instead of lady Brarknell ' So says [Ma

68 THE “ST 8 2/ Jun 2000

Liza Goddard is ‘Mad about Oscar'

(ioddard, who made a flying start to her Wilde (areer a few months hark as his greatest (iraride [)ame in the distinguished King’s produrtron last year

()oddard Will he appearing in the very different role oi Mrs lrllyne iii this revrval ol Wilde's tale of s<anda| in Vi(torian london As the rriiddle—aged

them, and they still seem to like hehavrng the way they do look at lergie, she's a pantomiirie horse it ever there was one And there's all sorts of relevant satire At one point it's said oi someone "he talks like a radiral and thinks like a lory" lhat seems to talk about today's world '

My mind wanders through the hues of the government lrorit hen<h (Steve ( ramerl

Stage whispers Re: Treading the boards

SOME MONTHS BACK we reported, with some sadness, the death of Ian Bannen, which could only be seen as a blow to Scottish theatre, since we had lost not only one of the finest performers of his generation, but also an energetic supporter of the local theatre scene. It is gratifying, a few months later, to see that Bannen will now be commemorated through a yearly event. The acting and performing students of Coatbridge College competed for the inaugural lan Bannen Memorial Prize on Thursday 1 June in an event which included Peter Mullen among the judges. His widow, Marelyn Bannen presented the prizes, which bore testimony to the respect within the community for one of Coatbridge’s favourite sons.

SOAP l-ANS, AFTER the treat they r’ereived through the tour of Mary Riggins with Salon Janette, (an onre again return to the theatre With high hopes This time, very nearly the full (ast of High Road Will be appearing in a stage version of the popular hu(o|r( pothoiler Who else but the Pavrlion, \Vllll its tradition of popular theatre (ould stage sur h an event) The interesting thing about this one is that it'll be up against the l-estival in ldinlnirgh, running from Wednesday 2 Saturday )6 August It might turn out to he a nu e pie(e of programming, With <ulture-vulturism heing es( hewed in favour of more earthy fare, giVing Sr otland's pop-theatre audienr es somewhere to go when mandatory (ultur‘e takes over

ANOTHER PIECE OF theatre which proved accessible to a broad audience was Stephen Greenhorn's Passing Places, an exploration of Scottish identity with an agreeably satirical edge. For those who didn't catch it a couple of years back, there's a new production by Reid Kerr College at the Ramshorn from Tuesday 13—Friday 16 June, which is worth a watch for the script alone.

Mary Riggans, a recent convert from soap to theatre in Salon Janette