The Edinburgh cast of the World Stage Premier of Gregory's Girl reunite after 35 years - Liam Rudden
GREGORY’S GIRL has long been one of the best-loved Scottish films.
Bill Forsyth’s coming of age comedy is frequently mentioned in the same breath as The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Whisky Galore and Restless Natives when lists of favourite home-made movies are compiled.
It’s a perfectly nuanced take on the trials and tribulations of growing up and handling the first stirrings of attraction.
It is therefore the ideal choice for a youth theatre looking for a production to stage - or is it?
At first glance it fits the bill. Set in a school, the characters are mostly ages with company members- there are plenty of them too, ensuring a part for everyone.
Probably why, back in 1983, it was such a coup when Edinburgh Youth Theatre (the original one, not the group using the name today) landed the rights to produce the World Stage Premier of the play at the Lyceum Little Theatre, also known as the Little Lyceum or the Lyceum Studio, an intimate space that sat on the site you will now find the Traverse.
As a teenager, I was cast in that production. It was filmed by a pal at a time when video cameras were clunky and shoulder-mounted and the battery was even larger, worn slung over one hip.
Recently I uncovered a VHS recording of that performance, some 25 years after it was last played, there was no guarantee that it still would.
Would the tape have become too brittle and snap as it was being rewound?
Luckily, a friend managed to transfer it to DVD - the ideal excuse to hold a reunion, another friend suggested.
With the help of Steve Hall, manager of The Dome, who offered to host then screening in the venue’s private front bar - it has an impressive big screen - that reunion took place recently.
There’s something nerve-wracking about meeting people you haven’t seen for so long. Will they still be recognisable being one of the thoughts that flitted through my head.
Will they turn up was another. And what if, after all this time, we watch the result of our youthful endeavours and cringe?
Thankfully, we didn’t, it all held up quite nicely to be honest, although there is little doubt that a number of lines that had the audience in hysterics back in 1983 would undoubtedly be red-penned now. There’s one whole scene that, I reckon, will have been cut from a recent production.
And yet, despite all the political incorrectness, the beauty of Gregory’s Girl remains its youthful innocence... which makes it all the more terrifying to think that most of us watching in The
Dome are now hurtling towards 60 (if not already there) with an ever-increasing velocity. Strangely, though, no one had really changed, apart from the loss of the odd frizzy 80’s perm.
As Gregory might say, the reunion proved a ‘Bella, bella’ affair
Sometimes it's good to look back.