Uncle Pumblechook – overbearing and sanctimonious but a joy to play!
Well, this will be my third Dickensian outing. Many more years ago than I care to think about I played Mr Bumble in a student production at Chester College. Much more recently, but still a year or three ago, one of the parts I played in a Saddleworth Players adaptation of ‘A Christmas Carol’ was Scrooge’s father, who is not to be found anywhere in the original. And now I’m going to play Uncle Pumblechook in the rapidly approaching ‘Great Expectations’. He certainly is in the book, but what an overbearing, sanctimonious, self-serving hypocrite he is – and what a joy to play. In keeping with the setting, I’ve adopted my best estuary accent for the role, but suspect that in the end it owes rather more to the Medlock than the Medway. I’m also given the chance to mangle other accents, as together with most of the cast, I come on and off as part of the company, getting to wear various hats in the process.
I’ve been involved in more than one previous Saddleworth production with our director Karen, one of which even saw her as my on-stage American wife. She will certainly have had some headaches with this demanding presentation, and bringing it all together could actually be seen as some sort of minor miracle.
This will be the fourth time I’ve acted with Kate, and once again she gets the chance to put me down. Patricia, Helena, Margaret, Phil and John are also familiar Saddleworth faces to me, and I know Neil from shared productions at Milnrow. I’d not met the remaining cast before, but I’m pleased to have had the privilege of working with such talented younger actors. So, Saturday’s almost upon us. You may wish to be there. I’ll be waiting in vain for some savoury pork pie.
Ian Crickett, Nov 27, 2017