THE MYSTERY OF CHARLES DICKENS Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Tue 2—Sat

6 Oct.

If there’s a more influential novelist in English-speaking culture than Dickens, I’d like hear them named. With the instinct of his journalistic background in telling a story combining with a sense of grotesquerie in the creation of characters, Dickens novels have achieved the nigh-impossible in commanding both a popular audience and critical acclaim. And Dickens’ life has engaged nearly as much interest as the novels themselves over recent years, particularly after the publication of Peter Ackroyd’s biography.

Ackroyd’s undoubted scholastic and storytelling abilities have been applied to the stage with much distinction with this, his first theatre piece. A national tour in 1997 created a memorable role for Simon Callow, who will reunite with director Patrick Garland for this Scottish appearance, after a West End sell out.

Callow has become better-known for his film appearances than stage in recent years, with acclaimed performances in Four Weddings And A Funeral, Shakespeare In Love and A Room With A View among others catching the public’s attention. Yet anyone who has seen him perform will witness his astonishing abilities onstage. Callow’s first appearance at the Fringe was in 1973, and his theatre career has seldom been neglected for long over the past three decades.

In this one-man show, which sees Callow portray 49 different Dickens characters in its course, the man’s life story is recreated through his characters. Callow maintains that the very theatricality of Dickens characters makes him eminently suitable to theatre: ‘Strangely, it didn’t help him to write plays, his plays were terrible, but his characters are very vivid. In a way, they’re even more so in the way we do them here, with me just standing there, with no make-up, and not wearing a costume, just evoking the characters.’

In this way, Callow allows the writer’s characters to



Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Thu 27—Sat 29 Sep.

‘.(>l'fStlf;*lllélll£tt}(}ll‘(flti hrouhaha. Sn‘ack rn tho rr‘rddlo of tho l'drnhur‘gh l os;tr‘.'a| :t ‘.'.'as; announcod that tho cur'ront ar'trssttc drr‘octor. choroographor Hohort North, rs; to Ioa'.'o noxl Augus;t to lltétkt‘: way for a con‘pan; rornx'ontron as; r>trr“;o\.'(>rs; of contornporan, danco.

A Christmas Callow

tell the story, using his writing as the major strength of the piece. ‘The narratives are compelling in a melodramatic way, and the characters are very striking, but what you don’t get when you try to stage it too fully is the author’s tone of voice,’ Callow says. ‘I think I can do this because I include some narrative, just storytelling, between the characters.’

Callow is clearly fascinated by the writer, and defends him from those who feel that his apparent conservatism inculcated a sense of shallow Victorian morality on readers for generations to come: ‘He was a great advocate of the disadvantaged over the advantaged. He was highly critical of the way his country was run, and violently opposed to the growth of capitalism in his era. His sexual morality isn’t really as stern as it was painted, either. You might notice in the novels that no- one is really punished for sexual vice.’ Perhaps a night with Callow’s Dickens will allow a reassessment of both man and work. (Steve Cramer)

l‘or' hrs; part. Barron agr'(:-s;s; that tho announcon‘ont .'./as; "nu s;s;r\.'o|y doorosasung' tor da'r’tor’s; who am ‘non;ous; and too ..r> to tho tooth' wrth chango. ‘But tho hag noodod to ho s;ha'r\on.' ho says. 'Now rt's; out thor‘o tor ouhlrc dohato. Rohor‘t can‘o and

Will North go West?

Scotland's; rir'ornror danr‘o roupr; .'./ril ham: to oxhrhrt piont‘y of graco undor pronoun,- durrng tho (:onrrng ‘.'/ool\s;. Ihr; corr'nany. ‘.‘.’ll|(lll locks; oft rts, autunin tour rn (‘rlasx‘jow noxt unlook. rs. s;tr|l roolrng trorn lasst rnonth's; artrs;t

(Ioncur'r'ont \.'.'rth tho r>r'os;j)octr\.'o changos; was; tho nox'xs; that North had hoon tutorkrng rn Br‘rtarn ‘.'.'rthout tho cor‘roct ‘-.'.'orl< porn‘rt o\.'or' s;rnco taking up tho post.

North. ‘.'.'ho haroh osscanod donortatron. rs; hrghl; ::r‘rtrcal of t:oth lho :locrsuon and rts; handlrng. Much of hrs; rr‘o rs; arrnc-d at chrol oxocutrxo (Ihns; Barron. ‘l to rs; ono of Mono adrnrnrs;tr‘ators; who havo no oxpor'ronco aid thrnk tho\,' havo a hrg chanco to corr‘o rn and play Willi tho t(>\,s;_' saays; North. ‘Ho ‘.'./ants; nro to rnvrtc- rn s;orno contorr‘rporau chr>roographors;. | havo no prohlon‘. '.'.’liil illlf‘». It tho narnos; on hrs; lrs;t t,‘.’(3l|£tl) u'xrth n‘rno. And If ho cz-n go out and got tho rnonog. rnntoad ol jusst s;a,'rng "I ‘.'.rant trs;h tor drnnor

drd what ho was; askod to do. Ho t)l'()‘.'i(i(}(i a mat s;tahr|rs;atron, Now \.'.'o'\.’o got to nrovo ono rnor‘o trrno. Wo (,annot s;rt lookrng at tho past. Wo nood to do or‘rgrnal work. Othor'\.'v.rrs;o wo won't ho countod. It's; a \ory hard thrng to do. \"v’o'\.'o grton our's;ol\.'os; a \,oar'.'

Although North‘s; supportor's; aro Iohhtrng tor a r‘o\.'or‘s;a|, tho s;oar‘ch tor a roplacornont has; hogun. In tho rnoantrrno tho s;ho\.'.' n‘us;t go on. Two of North's; host dancos; [)oat/t And lho Alla/don. s;ot to Schuhort. and tho populrnt, r‘ossolutoh nras;cu|rno 7/()\' (Earrro ar'o jirxtapo:;o(l .1garns:t two s;o><fi,, lrvoh and \ot s;trrngont procos; ht [)utch rnas;tor‘ Hans; Van Manon. 'l hrs; orogran‘rno wrll ho ropoatod rn /\i)(3l(i(‘:(}ll and l. drnhurgh through ntrd ()ctohor‘. rl)ona|d llutora»

Stage Whispers

The talk of the green room

WHAT CAN YOU SAY? IT’S A funny old world indeed, it seems, when you hear that Irvine Welsh is about to stage his first musical. Word has it that Edinburgh’s Gateway Theatre has accomplished this amazing coup, enlisting both Welsh, and his long- term theatre adapter/director Harry Gibson for the project, which is slated for February. It sounds like it’s to be another hard-hitting social commentary, too, which the third-level acting students will take on with relish. It’s hard to conceptualise Welsh’s world of drug-abusers, bent policeman, violent crime and sexual abuse in Edinburgh set to Gershwin, so the music should be an interesting angle. So too the title: E- klahoma? South Side Story? Seven Bribes For Seven Coppers? Saturday Night Beaver’? Apparently it’s to be called Blackpool. You’ll have had your warning. Watch this space.

It ll SlLJl)t NlS Plithl‘tMth‘. Inoso nocos; a:s;o look sot for a much noodoo and ‘.'.roll dosmxod ho 1s;t. Young (>(Er'lor‘rnC-r's; Nonh of tho hordor arc- at last to no gr'antod |:‘-.r.'tg oxnonssos; to accorrioam thorr tutron ‘ooss. lho [)ooartrnont of t:(itl(:£lll()'t and Skrlrs; has; trnall; agr‘ood to nay irarrtg oxpons;os; n lr'ro \.'.r':th thos;o 'ocor\.od in. drama studonts; rn

t 'rg:a'ro and Walos. thus; frrtallg, .2r‘g toting Scottrs;h

r)-::r’t'or"ro's;. otton do'troo 'r‘n'tg

oxr:<}"-s;(:-s; i); parssrnronrous; ;o<:a' autt‘ov tros3. to douoion tl‘orr' talc-r‘ts3.

RUMOURS OF ANOTHER imminent production for a date yet undesignated later in the season centre around a revival of lain Heggie’s fringe hit Wiping My Mother’s Arse, which looks like being revived at the Lyceum. Those who missed the fringe production of this acclaimed black comedy will greet the news with relish.

Tam Dean Burn in Irvine Welsh’s Filth