September 12, 2008

Heysel Tragedy Remembered ; Arts

By Joe Riley

A TRIPLE shoulder fracture sustained slipping on a footplate while giving a Greek bus driver a tip, HAS put paid to Chris Darwin's tribute to Liverpool comicArthurAskey.

For the time being, at least ...

Chris, one of the city's most durable actors, had been planning to star In Arthur Askey's Ghost Train at the Actors' Studio, run by Pauline Daniels, in Seel Street.

It remains awork in progress, with a note of caution: "I read Arthur's biography and there's nothing that really grips you."

Except, perhaps, memories of the Bee Song, the ditty composed by another Liverpool comic, which became Askey's signature tune.

For the time being, Chris has returned to directing, reviving John Dillon'sWearing Colours, about the Heysel football disaster, for aMerseyside tour, starting nextweek.

The playwas first staged by Liverpool Lunchtime Theatre in November 1985, six months after the tragedy inwhich 39 fans died when Liverpool played Juventus in Brussels.

The showwill be seen at Unity Theatre from next Thursday, before travelling on to the Brindley Arts Centre and Southport Arts Centre.

Producers, Scotland Road founded Vauxy Theatre,would like to have secured aweek as a visiting company to the Everyman or Playhouse (where Chris Darwin featured inmany hits during the 70s and 80s).

"We have never been able to get in," notes Chris, a veteran of shows likeAlan Bleasdale's Having A Ball and NoMore Sitting On The Old School Bench.

The revival ofWearing Colours is a deliberate 2008 decision, flagging up, more than a year in advance, the 25th anniversary of Heysel.

The original production included a youngNeil Fitzmaurice, nowa film producer and co-writer of Phoenix Nights.

But the newversionwelcomes additions. The companywould like to hear from peoplewith photos taken on the day of the tragedy and so far untold memories.

Chris Darwin didn't take the RADA route to drama. He avoided the National Theatre, preferring tomaintain a very successful period in Liverpool Theatre.

He had started outwith the Argyle Youth Theatre, based in NewBrighton, and his local associations re-emerge this Christmas,when he plays the lead in Night Collar, the taxi comedy, at the Royal Court.

Further details: [email protected]

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