First Look: Ivor Cutler

April 16, 2014 | By | Reply More

The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler opens in Glasgow

The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler

Sandy Grierson as Ivor Cutler. Photo © Tim Morozzo

Words: Thom Dibdin
Photos: Tim Morozzo

The strange and idiosyncratic world of Ivor Cutler has been brought to the stage in a new co-production between Matthew Lenton’s Vanishing Point and the National Theatre of Scotland.

The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler opened at the Glasgow Citizens on Thursday 10 April and tours to Edinburgh’s Traverse from Tuesday 29 April for six performances.

Ahead of the production’s arrival in Edinburgh, when Hugh Simpson will be reviewing for Æ, here are some of the official pics of the show, taken by Tim Morozzo.

Sandy Grierson (Ivor Cutler) and Elicia Daly (Phyllis King). Photo © Tim Morozzo

Sandy Grierson (Ivor Cutler) and Elicia Daly (Phyllis King). Photo © Tim Morozzo

“You are the centre of your little world and I am of mine.
Now and again we meet for tea, we’re two of a kind.
This is our universe, cups of tea.
We have a beautiful cosmos, you and me.”
Ivor Cutler

 

Life in a Scotch Sitting Room volume 2. Photo © Tim Morozzo

Life in a Scotch Sitting Room volume 2. Photo © Tim Morozzo

The production features Sandy Grierson as Ivor Cutler (and himself). It was conceived by Matthew Lenton, who directs, and created by him with musician James Fortune and Sandy Grierson.

 

The Band: Nick Pynn and Magnus Mehta. Photo © Tim Morozzo

The Band: Nick Pynn and Magnus Mehta. Photo © Tim Morozzo

The music for the production is by James Fortune and the band, based on Ivor Cutler’s original songs. Here are Nick Pynn who plays accoustic guitar, bass pedals, dulcimer, fiddle, live looping, mandocello, saw and ukelele and – looking most attentive – Magnus Mehta who plays drums and percussion.

 

Ed Gaughan as The Headteacher. Photo © Tim Morozzo

Ed Gaughan as The Headteacher. Photo © Tim Morozzo

The production uses material from several sources and includes Cutler’s tales of teaching in a Scottish school under a tawse-wielding headmaster – here played by the hugely versatile Ed Gaughan who, besides playing accoustic and electric guitars, also appears in a variety of cameo roles.

 

Ivor chats to the band  Photo © Tim Morozzo

Ivor chats to the band. Photo © Tim Morozzo

The band are a vital part of the production – Cutler was possibly the only artist to have been played on Radios 1, 2, 3 and 4; he influenced the Beatles and was championed by John Peel. Behind the keyboards on the left is Jo Apps who plays bass, Jupiter 4 and also provides magnificent vocals. Behind the piano is James Fortune who also plays flute, harmonium and toy piano.

 

Nick  Pynn (who also plays saw) and Sandy Grierson. Photo © Tim Morozzo

Nick Pynn (who also plays saw) and Sandy Grierson. Photo © Tim Morozzo

The production covers Cutler’s life, from his birth in 1923 in Glasgow and boyhood – as recorded by himself in Life in a Scotch Sitting Room – up until when he left Scotland to live in London. There, he began to perform – his first gig was in 1957 – and he continued to do so almost to his death in March 2006, aged 83.

 

Ivor and Phyllis visit the zoo. Photo © Tim Morozzo

Ivor and Phyllis visit the zoo. Photo © Tim Morozzo

The production is partly based on a series of interviews between performer Sandy Grierson, who plays Cutler, and his long term girlfriend Phyllis King, played by Elicia Daly. Here they are seen on a trip to the zoo to look at the fish.

 

The albums. Photo © Tim Morozzo

The albums. Photo © Tim Morozzo

The production uses much of Cutler’s own material, recorded and released on the nascent Virgin Records and EMI’s prog rock imprint Harvest in the 70s, Rough Trade in the 80s and Creation Records in the 90s.

 

Ivor and Phyllis. Photo © Tim Morozzo

Ivor and Phyllis. Photo © Tim Morozzo

Some of the most tender moments are when Cutler is on stage performing with Phyllis.

The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler plays the Edinburgh Traverse: Tuesday 29 April-Saturday 3 May 2014. Details on the Traverse website: www.traverse.co.uk.

Fiona Shepherd has written a fascinating little introduction to Ivor Cutler’s life, which is on the National Theatre of Scotland website: www.nationaltheatrescotland.com

The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler on tour:

10-19 April 2014 Glasgow
Citizens Theatre
0141 429 0022 Book online
23 April Greenock
The Beacon
01475 723723 Book online
25 April Stirling
macrobert
01786 466666 Book online
29 April – 3 May Edinburgh
Traverse Theatre
0131 228 1404 Book online

ENDS

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