ANORAK OF FIRE by Stephen Dinsdale. Theatre by the Lake (studio), Keswick.


by Stephen Dinsdale

Theatre by the Lake In rep to 27 October 2001
Runs 1 hr 5 mins. No interval
TICKETS 017687 74411
Review Timothy Ramsden 10 August

Spotter spotted in spot-on performance

In its second full season this elegant, friendly playhouse (sandwiched between Derwentwater and a car park) is already an attraction for fellwalkers and a valuable producing house for a part of England scenically outstanding but theatrically thin on the ground.

It’s a genuine repertory theatre, with six productions on show (in main house and studio) each week of the summer season. This offers younger company members a valuable training in alternating a variety of roles (useful antidote to typecasting), and the chance to grow from spear-hauling to leading roles.

No spears it’s true for young actor Dennis Herdman but thanks to the Lake’s studio he has a weekly timetable varying Pinter and Hare cameos with Stephen Dinsdale’s trainspotting monologue.To the core of his anorak-clad, two notebook and pencil, Tupperware lunchbox soul, Gus Gascoigne has the mark that distinguishes nerd from mere enthusiast. He defines the world in terms of his preoccupation without even realising he’s doing so. Gus’s world is divided into spotters and others – with a sub-category of spotters’ mothers and (less often) wives, those tireless preparers of the packed lunches which sustain the true devotees of on-line deities (Gus points out computer buffs are often spotters too). It’s an almost exclusively masculine world where even a tryst with a naked Boots assistant has to be interrupted when a 125 rushes down the line.

The actor’s concentration is as total as his character’s obsession. Gascoigne assumes his audience’s devotion to the cause. Herdman uses apparently casual mid-sentence pauses to reveal repeatedly how different Gus’s world is from the non-spotter’s.
Frequently zooming into elongated, flyaway cadences of self-satisfaction he catches the amalgam of nonchalance and obsession that makes this something more than just a shunt up a theatrical siding.

Gus Gascoigne: Dennis Herdman

Director: Stefan Escreet
Designer: Jocelyn Meall
Lighting: Annie Emery
Sound: Paul Bunn

‘Gus Gascoigne’s Wonderful Feeling – The Video’

Little Gus: Kieran Ormandy
Trainspotters: Jamie Ayers, Will Metcalfe, Steven Hall, Tony Ormandy

Director: Stefan Escreet
Camera: Dave Robert
Assistant Camera: Cameron Phillips

Camera: Dave Robert
Assistant Camera: Cameron Phillips

2001-08-11 19:32:54

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