Victor and Barry - Are We Too Loud?

Forbes Masson and I took our latest Victor and Barry show to the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh for the duration of the festival. We had previously performed it at Glasgow's Mayfest and Cumbernauld Theatre.

Here we are singing our Edinburgh Festival Song on Scottish television's show Acropolis Now

STV also helped us with the production of an album (on cassette), also entitled Are We Too Loud?

This video was made for BSkyB and directed by our friend Ashtar Alkhirsan.

It's Not the End of the World

This new play by Jack Klaff and Bob Sinfield premiered at the Theatre Workshop in Edinburgh and then toured extensively throughout Scotland. I played a young man who discovers that nuclear weapons are actually illegal according to international law, and tries to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights.

It was a really interesting idea, merging the home life of the characters, my character's obsession with his quest and flitting back and forth in time to other acts of war.  The best part about it was the fun we had touring through the Highlands, playing little church halls, sometimes having to shoo sheep off the road to be able to drive to the next venue. It was such a great way to see my country.

The company included Hilary Lyon (my ex-wife), Maureen Carr,  Stewart Preston, Vari Sylvester and me.  It was directed by Bryan Elsley.


The Slab Boys

John Byrne's play is the first part of his Slab Boys trilogy, about the lives and loves of three young men from Paisley working in the slab room of a carpet factory in the 1950s. I played Phil McCann, a slab boy who spends his day grinding down paint on a marble slab in the slab room. But Phil is a budding artist and has applied to the Glasgow school of Art as his escape, and on the day the play takes place he will find out if he has been succesful.

The Slab Boys is a brilliant play. Its language and characters are rich and dense, and it truly is a Scottish classic. I remember it being an incredibly challenging thing for me and during the course of it I learned so much about acting and allowing yourself to come through a character. It's one of the roles that I'd like to have had another bash at but sadly the years have taken their toll and that will never happen.

Luckily though, John Byrne went on to write other plays for these characters, and I played Phil again the next year in the second instalment of the trilogy Cuttin' A Rug. The third play is Still Life, and in 2008 a fourth play, Nova Scotia, was premiered at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh.

The Slab Boys was performed at Dundee Repertory Theatre in early 1987, directed by Alan Lyddiard. the cast included Caroline Paterson (pictured), Robert Carlyle, Vince Friel, Irene Sunters, Alec Westwood and Paul Samson.


Sleeping Beauty

Pantomime is huge in Scotland.  And by pantomime I don't mean people with white faces pretending to walk into winds. I mean panto, with men dressed up as women and they're behind you and variety acts appearing for very tenous reasons. If you don't know, then please go and google it.

Anyway, in the late eighties, as the boom in alternative cabaret raged, the Tron theatre in Glasgow decided to start doing alternative pantos. The poster byline for this version of Sleeping Beauty was 'Young, Gifted, Asleep'. It was written by Craig Fergusson (later the talk show sensation in the States) and Peter Capaldi. It premiered at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow in December 1986 with Forbes Masson and I taking our Victor and Barry characters and turning them into the pantomime dames, Victoria and Barathea. It was my first time in drag.  I am not a pretty girl.

Victor and Barry

In 1986, in the middle of filming Shadow of the Stone, I did a one night only Victor and Barry show at the Guilded Balloon during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Mr. Government

Mr Government was a new play by Stuart Paterson about life in a rural community in Ayrshire.

I played Donal, a boy with learning difficulties, and I remember that this was the first time that I actually understood acting.  I don't know how to describe it. Something clicked, or loosened up, or I let go in some way. Whatever, one day on stage, I just sort of had a breakthough and realised that I could inhabit this person and it wasn't really like the acting I had been doing or had thought I had to do up to that point. I just felt that something opened inside me and I was more connected to the character. So I have a special fondness for this play and the experience I had. I got to work with great Scottish actresses like Caroline Paterson and Juliet Cadzow, and again with Martin Black who had been in Macbeth.

A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams was the second play in my Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh repertory season.

I just love this play, and am so glad that I got to know it intimately at such a young age. I played two parts - the Young Collector and the Doctor who takes Blanche away at the end.

I remember the first preview we did. There was a custom that first preview audiences got in for free, so it was a really excited and exciteable crowd. When I came on as the Young Collector people actually whistled, and when Blanche kissed me the place went nuts!

Every night as soon as I had been kissed by Blanche, who was played by Vivien Heilbron, I rushed upstairs to my dressing room and began the startling transformation into the Doctor.  I really went to town: glasses, white hair, lines, moustache, the lot. All my make-up training at RSAMD was well-used. Check it out! Once, when one of the other actors was stuck on the motorway from Glasgiw, I had to play Pablo too!


Tartuffe is a great play by Moliere, and this production, my first as part of a season of plays at the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh, was a new Scots adaptation by the brilliant poet and playwright Liz Lochead.

I played the young lover, Valere, and here I am pictured with Gerda Stevenson. I was so excited to work at the Lyceum and be a part of a repertory company, and be in such a great play.


The Ugly Duckling

The Ugly Duckling was a pantomime for Borderline Theatre Company performed at the Magnum Centre, Irvine. I played Andy, who befriended the eponymous duck and dreamed of becoming a clown at the circus.

Forbes Masson, my Victor and Barry cohort, and another college friend Lousie Beattie, were the baddies, and Jenny McCrindle who I went on to work with in Sleeping Beauty and The High Life was the duck.

My biggest memory of this, aside from the wall of noise of the screaming children during each show, was getting up at the crack in the freezing Glasgow winter to get into a van and travel down to Irvine each morning. I was only out of drama school six months and already I was a moaning actor! But it is a real killer schedule. Three shows a day some days, so you sometimes came onstage and wondered if you had already done the scene you were about to do and therefore were about to repeat yourself, or had you just done it twice before that day in the previous two shows!!

I also remember a hotel in Irvine where we used to go to that had a water flume that was used as a carrot to get through that third show some nights.

Victor and Barry - Late'n'live

Victor and Barry took part in a late night revue at McNally's Cabaret Club as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  I remember rushing along there after performances of Trumpets and Raspberries.

Other acts performing in the revue were Arnold Brown, Jerry Sadowitz and Mullarkey and Myers, which was made up of Neil Mullarkey and Mike Myers. Yes, that one.