Peter Gill, playwright and theatre director
Ruth Gemmell interview
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Another kick about for Ruth

Interview with Ruth Gemmell, Sheffield Telegraph, 24 May 2002

The last time Ruth Gemmell worked in Sheffield was filming the BBC TV series, Four Fathers.

She played the estranged wife of Neil Dudgeon, living upstairs with their daughter while he occupied the ground floor with their son.

Now she is here in the Peter Gill play, Kick for Touch, playing a woman who has an affair with her husband's brother.  

"I do seem to play a lot of dysfunctional wives," she muses, although her best-known role is the very together teacher who won the heart of football-crazy Colin Firth in the film of Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch.

But in Kick for Touch, the issues are a lot more complex than whether Arsenal get the throw-in.

Her character, Eileen, is caught in a tragic love triangle between the two siblings whose difficult childhood has left them so close that she is ultimately crushed between them.

"It's set over a decade in Cardiff in the Seventies and the action jumps about in time. The writing is quite explosive, every time the scene changes you are right in there. The complexity of the relationships of the characters is quite dense," says the Darlington-born actress.

"I have three brothers, so a lot of the arguments in the play are familiar, and all the pettiness and the jealousy and the fights. And the way brothers can suddenly turn and have a go at one another. That said, I think one of the strengths of the play is that so much is unsaid."

Ruth made her West End debut last year in the final London production of hit Irish play The Weir.

"It was daunting because we are the first non-Irish cast to do it," says Ruth, who certainly seems game to have a go at accents.

She had to master a Potteries drawl for upcoming ITV drama series Blue Dove, set in a Stoke pottery where, coincidentally, she and Susan Brown play best mates. Susan appears in Small Change, another of the Cardiff plays in the Peter Gill season.

  • Kick for Touch is playing in repertory with Small Change, Mean Tears and Friendly Fire in the Crucible Studio until June 22.


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