Too Close to The Sun
Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 5-Sat 9 Jun
‘When I was very young, just a nipper, after my first album, I was living with a pal, Steve Morris, who lived in some style in Beverley Hills and I was invited to go to St Louis and write a musical with some real theatre people,’ recalls legendary Scottish rocker BA Robertson. ‘I told them to piss off. What did I want to go there for in the winter, when I was having tequila sunrises for breakfast every morning. I sometimes think that wasn’t my best career move . . . ’
So it is that Robertson explains how his connection with the theatre could have started three decades back. There have been opportunities since, including an unreleased score written with Burt Bacharach, but Robertson has, as ever, done things his own way.
The path he’s taken has led him to the theatre in any case, with this intimate narrative cabaret, telling the story of John F Kennedy from the point of view of one of his early lovers, Inga Arvad, a journalist and former Danish beauty queen with a story of her own that seems to take in all the grandeur of Kennedy’s. It’s an intimate affair, here rewritten and expanded from the version presented at the Fringe last year, but still with only two figures on stage, Robertson and the actress playing Arvad, Katrine Lunde.
Robertson is clearly brighter than the average rocker, and our conversation reveals a good deal of thought and research on his subject. But the heart of his story, told with many a song, is still the feeling of lost idealism that surrounds the fallen president. ‘How many shit moves would JFK have made when he was older? He was in that situation where he’ll remain forever young, and that’s very prized in our culture. I mean, if James Dean had gotten old, lost his looks, and made a lot of shit movies, would he have become like Brando in later life? There’s a similar idea with Kennedy.’