ONE of the all-time classic movies gets a live-action treatment at Cumbernauld Theatre this week, with Casablanca: The Gin Joint Cut.
We caught up with star Gavin Mitchell, who has been winning plaudits for his affectionately comic portrayal of Humphrey Bogart/Rick Blaine, appearing alongside Jimmy Chisholm and Claire Waugh.
“We do a homage/spoof of the film and have fun with it. It’s a ridiculous idea trying to do Casablanca with just three people and in the age of the smoking ban when in the film someone lit up every three minutes.
“So we do go for laughs but at the same time it’s such a beautiful story and you don’t want to mess with it too much.”
The treatment has certainly gone down well with critics. “The response we’ve had is absolutely fantastic, I think we’ve had three five-star reviews during our run in Edinburgh. But this tour starting in Cumbernauld will be the first chance for the audience to see new elements we’ve worked into the play.
“You also get to learn some things about the film and how it was made. At the time people all over Europe were fleeing from the Nazis and some ended up in the film, including Peter Lorre, a Hungarian, who went from big films like M with Fritz Lang into Hollywood bit parts before appearing in Casablanca and also The Maltese Falcon, also with Bogie.”
Gavin says his part is not to simply impersonate Humphrey Bogart: “The thing with Humphrey Bogart’s acting in films is that he pretty much does nothing, which doesn’t really translate too well to the stage. So I’ve had to invest more of myself into it while still staying true to the spirit of Bogart.”
“I was in Oran Mor one night when Morag Fullarton asked me about doing a version of Casablanca with me as Rick. I’d had a couple of drinks and just sort of said ‘yeah, uhuh’ and forgot about it until a few months later when Morag presented me with a script. I read it, I loved it and we’ve been doing the play for three years now.”
See Casablanca: The Gin Joint Cut tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday at Cumbernauld Theatre. Tickets, £10/£8, can be booked from the Box Office on 01236 732887.
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