Interview – Michael Marra (The Scotsman)

A minute of your time: Michael Marra, Musician

By MARK MCKINLAY
Published: 18/8/2010

How has your Fringe been so far?

Great, the last two shows were completely full. They’ve all been very good; we’ve done the show so many many times, it’s only the tiny little things that’ll put us off. I’ve worked at the venue before, years ago with Gerry Mulgrew on a Christmas show, it’s a lovely place.

Has your show, A Wee Home From Home, developed since its original production back in 1988?

It’s changed every time we’ve done it, with each director. This time there’s quite a number of changes but we know it so well we’re not sure if people will notice them. But people seem to remember the show, even from years ago, they remember the details and watch out for them again.

Is the homecoming in the show any relation to your own personal homecoming to Scotland following your move to London?

No, not really, it was Frank McConnell’s idea. Frank is from Glasgow himself. So is director Gerry Mulgrew, so I approached it purely detached and entered into the role of a Glaswegian and I wrote what the show needed. So whilst the show isn’t based on my experiences, it is a certain amount based on Frank’s.

What are your favourite festival memories?

I do the festival every year so I’ve done many shows with different people. It’s a wonderful institution and the older I get the less I like the amount of it. I did think at first that it was a great thing, all this available art is just wonderful, like a big sweetie shop. But after a certain amount, as I’m getting on, I become a bit more fussy. But I’ve witnessed some wonderful things. One of the best things I’ve ever seen is John Otway, I saw him performing in a pub one night and it was truly wonderful. I also heard an Israeli man playing the violin in the Royal Oak and again, it was just magic and it was spontaneous. Very emotional piece of music, I think the man had had a good drink. But he played beautifully. It was a rough kind of thing, better than anything organised. Although there was a production of Blood Wedding that I saw one year with Barbara Rafferty starring, and that was wonderful.

What are your plans beyond the festival?

Well, it’s always varied with me. I’ve always got my solo work and the theatre for when it interests me. When I was younger I used to go from one theatre show into another, and sometimes two at once, but now I’ll work in the theatre if I’m extremely interested about what it is.

Do you have any more solo material coming out soon?

I have indeed. It’s called Michael Marra and Mr McFall’s Chamber. They’re a wonderful group and it’s an album for a Glasgow record label. And that’ll be out very soon. I’m doing four gigs with Mr McFall’s Chamber in Scotland to promote the album.

• Michael Marra performs in A Wee Home From Home at the Acoustic Music Centre @ St Bride’s, 5:20pm, until 22 August.

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