The Caucasian Chalk Circle

Louise Gold starred as Grusche, a Brechtian heroine, at Edinburgh Royal Lyceum (preview 12 October) 13 October - 4 November 1995


The Company


David Baker – Local Person, Beggar/supplicant, Soldier, Cook, Michael, and, Schauwa

Sean Baker – Local Person, Adjutant, Corporal, Funeral Guest, Trooper, and, Michael

Eric Barlow – Actor, Governor, Old Peasant, Funeral Guest, Trooper, Doctor, Landlord, Farmer, and, Old Man

James Bryce – Actor, and, Messenger

Jimmy Chisholm – Surab, Second Doctor, Farmer, Musician, Lame Man, Cattle Thief, and, First Lawyer

Rab Christie – Actor, Michael, Jussup, Nephew, and, Trooper

Louise Gold – Tractor Driver, Beggar/supplicant, and, Grusche,

Max Gold – Soldier, Beggar/supplicant, Executioner, Servant, Blockhead, Lavrenti, Trooper, Blackmailer, Groom, and, Farmer

Russell Hunter – Alecko, First Doctor, Tradesman, Monk, Fugitive, Invalid, and, Second Lawyer

Louise Ironside – Kato Wachtang, Beggar/supplicant, Soldier, Nursemaid, Aniko, Funeral Guest, Farmer, and, Old Woman

Peter Kelly – Arkadi, and, Azdak

Tom McGovern – The Expert

Jayne McKenna – Woman from the dairy farm, Beggar/suppilcant, Soldier, Chambermaid, Tradeswoman, Funeral Guest, Ludowika, and, Old Woman

Michael Perceval-Maxwell – Actor, Governor’s Wife, Groom, and, Funeral Guest

Matthew Pidgeon – Local Person, Simon, Funeral Guest, and, Simon

Ann Louise Ross  - Woman from the Fruit Farm, Fat Duke, Farmer’s Wife, and, Mother-in-Law


Production Team

 Author - Bertolt Brecht

Translator - John Holmstrom

Director - Gerard Murphy

Dιcor - Will Hargreaves

Lighting - Brian Harris

Music - Stephen Warbeck

Musical Director - James Bryce

Assistant Director - Steven Gale

DSM on book – Christine Dimwoodie


Cast In Order Of Appearance

The Dispute Over The Valley

Woman from the fruit farm – Ann Louise Ross

Alecko – Russell Hunter

Tractor Driver – Louise Gold

The Expert – Tom McGovern

Woman from the dairy farm – Jayne McKenna

Soldier – Max Gold

Surab – Jimmy Chisholm

Kato Wachtung – Louise Ironside

Arkadi – Peter Kelly

Actors – James Bryce, Eric Barlow, Rab Christie, and, Michael Perceval Maxwell

Local People – Matthew Pigeon, David Baker, and, Sean Baker


The Nobel Child

Arkadi – Peter Kelly

Beggars and supplicants – Louise Gold, Jayne McKenna, Louise Ironside, David Baker, and, Max Gold

Adjutant – Sean Baker

Governor – Eric Barlow

Governor’s Wife – Michael Perceval Maxwell (in drag)

Michael – Rab Christie

First Doctor – Russell Hunter

Second Doctor – Jimmy Chisholm

Fat Duke – Ann Louise Ross

Simon – Matthew Pigeon

Grusche – Louise Gold

Soldiers – David Baker, Max Gold, Louise Ironside, and, Jayne McKenna

Chambermaid – Jayne McKenna

Nursemaid – Louise Ironside

Cook – David Baker

Executioner – Max Gold

Servant – Max Gold

Chorus – Full Company


The Flight into the Northern Mountains

Arkadi – Peter Kelly

Grusche – Louise Gold

Michael – Rab Christie

Old Peasant – Eric Barlow

Corporal – Sean Baker

Blockhead – Max Gold

Farmer’s Wife – Ann Louise Ross

Farmer – Jimmy Chisholm

Tradesman – Russell Hunter

Tradeswoman – Jayne McKenna

Chorus – Full Company




In the Northern Mountains

Arkardi – Peter Kelly

Grusche – Louise Gold

Michael – David Baker

Lavrenti – Max Gold

Aniko – Louise Ironside

Groom – Michael Percival Maxwell

Mother-in-Law – Ann Louise Ross

Jussup – Rab Christie

Monk – Russell Hunter

Musician – Jimmy Chisholm

Funeral Guests – Louise Ironside, Jayne McKenna, Eric Barlow, Sean Baker, Matthew Pidgeon, and, Michael Perceval Maxwell

Simon – Matthew Pidgeon

Troopers – Eric Barlow, and, Max Gold

Chorus – Full Company


The Story Of The Judge

Arkadi – Peter Kelly

Azdak – Peter Kelly

Fugitive – Russell Hunter

Schauwa – David Baker

Troopers – Max Gold, Sean Baker, and, Eric Barlow

Fat Duke – Ann Louise Ross

Nephew – Rab Christie

Invalid – Russell Hunter

Lame Man – Jimmy Chisholm

Doctor – Eric Barlow

Blackmailer – Max Gold

Landlord – Eric Barlow

Ludowika – Jayne McKenna

Groom – Max Gold

Old Woman – Jayne McKenna

Farmers – Russell Hunter, Eric Barlow, and, Max Gold

Cattle Thief – Jimmy Chisholm

Governor’s Wife – Michael Perceval Maxwell (in drag)

Adjutant – Sean Baker

Chorus – Full Company


The Chalk Circle

Arkadi – Peter Kelly

Grusche – Louise Gold

Cook – David Baker

Simon – Matthew Pidgeon

Governor’s Wife – Michael Perceval Maxwell (in drag)

First Lawyer – Jimmy Chisholm

Second Lawyer – Russell Hunter

Azdak – Peter Kelly

Troopers – Rab Christie, Eric Barlow, and, Max Gold

Messenger – James Bryce

Old Man – Eric Barlow

Old Woman – Louise Ironside

Michael – Sean Baker

Surab – Jimmy Chisholm

Alecko – Russell Hunter

Chorus – Full Company


It is perhaps appropriate that an agit-prop play such as this, had among both its cast and production team, a number of people who come from a background involving Political Satire and Agitation Propaganda, and/or went on to be involved with such. For example: Sean Baker, Louise Gold, Max Gold, and Stephen Warbeck, among others. Indeed Louise Gold and Max Gold, at least, had also at one time or another been roped into appearing with the politically motivated semi-professional Fall Out group.

Just prior to this production opening, many of the cast had been in a production of Our Country's Good, also at The Edinburgh Lyceum. As with that production the critics remarked upon how well the company worked together as an ensemble, this may or may not have been helped by the fact that the cast included a pair of real-life siblings, and for part of the scene ‘In The Northern Mountains’ they actually played the characters of siblings.

Stephen Warbeck went on to provide the music for an RSC production of The Cherry Orchard. He also went on to write the score for The Villain's Opera. He may have previously taken part in Thing A Thon.

In the first scene Musical Director James Bryce also had to play a character in the piece. From time to time there have been incidences in plays and musicals where the conductor has been required to make up the cast numbers, another example was the Scarbourgh and London Production of Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s musical Jeeves, when the conductor played a character called Issy.

Jimmy Chisholm and Louise Gold went on to appear in Gypsy.


Critics Comments

 “Gerald Murphy directs a jaunty revival of The Caucasian Chalk Circle which is chiefly remarkable for its company spirit”....”This should be the model for theatre throughout Britain; and you see the benefits in the easy interplaying among a strong cast that includes Louise Gold as the servant GruscheMichael Billington, THE GUARDIAN, 25 October 1995.

  "Louise Gold played Grusha with a straight directness" Thorn Dibdin THE STAGE

 "Grusche, played by a strong and dignified Louise Gold" Ann Donald, SUNDAY EXPRESS (SCOTLAND), 22 October 1995

 "There is some fine acting, notably Louise Gold as the noble peasant heroine figure Grusche" Colin Donald, THE SCOTSMAN, 16 October 1995

  "Louise Gold seems at first to be as uneasy about how to play her as Grusche is to play herself. But Gold displays growing authority as Grusche faces up to her mixed fortunes in the mountains" Richard Loup-Nolan, THE INDEPENDENT, 14 October 1995

 "Louise Gold's characterisation as Grusche - is deliberately flat and unemotional. It's an intriguing, difficult and very accomplished portrayal" Sara Villiers, THE HERALD, 20 October 1995


Links about The Caucasian Chalk Circle

Muppet Central/Tibby's Bowl Interview with Louise Gold This interview mentions Louise's work at The Edinburgh Lyceum, although the two shows are not named, she is evidently referring to Our Country's Good and The Caucasian Chalk Circle.

The Independent, Richard Loup-Nolan’s review:  

 STA (Scottish Theatre Archive) Catalogue entry for this show:

Wikipedia’s entry about the play in general (some of the details of the plot and characters may make interesting reading):

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