Sad as I was to hear of the death of Robbie Coltrane today, it triggered a wonderful memory of the big man from 1990 when I saw him play Dario Fo’s classic solo piece Mistero Buffo — a play which the Vatican denounces as “the most blasphemous show in the history of television”. Marvellous!
I was sat in the middle of the third row of a tiny theatre that Robbie completely filled with his colossal presence and physical hugeness. And being so close to the stage, he often made eye contact, which made the experience all the more intense. It was in Scotland too, so he didn’t hold back on the accent. An astonishing night out, a breathtaking experience, impossible to forget.
I found this related piece in the Scotsman.
Morag Fullarton, creative Director of A Play, A Pie and Pint, reflected on his legacy and acting power as she remembered working with Coltrane on Mistero Buffo.
“This was a huge challenge for any actor – a one man show by Dario Fo never before performed outside of Italy, playing multiple roles over two hours. Robbie was initially terrified, but took the challenge on and met it brilliantly,” she said. “His distinctive combination of sharp intelligence, consummate acting skill and superb comic timing meant he was perfect for the role. If an actor can hold the stage, on his own for two hours and have the audience on their feet at the end, he can pretty much do anything. It was a bit of an ‘acting Everest’, I know after the run had finished he felt a great sense of achievement, that he could tackle anything… and rightly so.”