Too Long the Heart on Malmaison Menu

Feb 21 2013 | By More

Siege Perilous return to Leith’s Shore with world premier

Publicity image for David Hutchison's Too Long the Heart by Siege Perilous at Malmaison Leith

Publicity image for David Hutchison’s Too Long the Heart by Siege Perilous

By Thom Dibdin

If the troubles in Northern Ireland provide the backdrop to David Hutchison’s Too Long the Heart, which receives its world premier tonight at Malmaison in Leith, there is still plenty of comedy.

Staged by long-standing shoestring theatre company Siege Perilous, this “kind of revenge thriller” concerns a man’s fishing holiday in County which goes horrendously wrong when he is abducted and taken hostage.

It’s all going wrong for his captors too, who might not even have the right person – and what exactly is the past wrong which is fuelling their thirst for revenge?

“I wanted to explore how the past shapes people and, in a sense, can imprison them,” Hutchison told the Annals. “Growing up in the west of Scotland I was aware from an early age of the Catholic/Protestant tension and its relationship to what was going on in Northern Ireland, and indeed to the whole history of Ireland.”

“On a couple of visits to the Republic a few years back I was much more conscious than I had been during previous visits of the inheritance of the past – for example, the potato famines, the various rebellions and their brutal suppression.

“Visits to Belfast at much the same time always produced in me a sense of unease and a feeling that, although there has been a political settlement, the underlying tensions have not gone away. I should add that it is also a play with a lot of humour- but then it is set in Ireland!”

A mixture of blind terror and puppy-dog excitement…

Siege Perilous has not had to look far for its own troubles with this production. Less than a week before opening, one of the actors had to pull out due to unforeseen family circumstances and director Andy Corelli was forced to step into the role of Neil, for what will be his first time on stage for four years.

“It’s a mixture of blind terror and puppy-dog excitement,” he confided to the Annals. “I’ve surprised myself at how quickly I was able to learn the lines but, in true Eric Morecambe fashion, I just hope I say them all ‘necessarily in the right order’!”

“I’ve had tremendous help and support from my producer Tina Finch, who’s being terrorising me night after night strapped to a comfy chair force-feeding me the right lines until I play the game. I’ve also been blessed with a strong and talented Assistant Director, Amy Gilmartin, who took over the directorial reins in my absence and a generous and understanding cast who helped me through the past, somewhat frenetic week.”

Most of David Hutchison’s working life has been spent at what is now Glasgow Caledonian University. He is author of Media Policy and co-edited The Media in Scotland. His book The Modern Scottish Theatre (1977) was one of the first studies in its field. He currently chairs Regional Screen Scotland. Another of his plays, The Blood is Strong – which is concerned with where Scotland might be going as it contemplates the prospect of independence – will be presented later in 2013 at the Finborough Theatre in London.

Too Long the Heart is the second production to come out of the Siege Perilous mentoring scheme, the Avalon Programme.

Too Long the Heart, Malmaison, 1 Tower Place, Leith
Thurs 21 – Tue 26 Feb, 2013, 7.30pm (not Sun), 5pm (Sun only) 3pm (Sat matinee).
Tickets £10/£8 (£6 matinee) from, 0131 554 3005 or on the door.

Siege Perilous website:


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