Hooked by a dangerous addiction to acting

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The Independent Online

Yesterday I brought you an extract from a current court case in which actor Ivan Grellow is suing a theatre management for making him take up smoking again. He was forced, for his character, to smoke on stage during a long run, and now says he cannot give up. Here are some more of the arguments advanced in this crucial case, which could make theatre history.

Yesterday I brought you an extract from a current court case in which actor Ivan Grellow is suing a theatre management for making him take up smoking again. He was forced, for his character, to smoke on stage during a long run, and now says he cannot give up. Here are some more of the arguments advanced in this crucial case, which could make theatre history.

Counsel: Now, Mr Grellow, you claim that ever since you were made to smoke on stage, you are unable to give up.

Grellow: Yes, that is so.

Counsel: In 1998, you were in a Chekhov production in London, I believe.

Grellow: Yes, I was. The Telegraph was rather complimentary about my Vanya. They said...

Counsel: For which part you grew a beard, I think.

Grellow: Yes, I did.

Counsel: Did you give up shaving after the play had finished its run?

Grellow: No, I reverted to being clean shaven.

Counsel: So beard growing was not addictive?

Grellow: I suppose if you put it like that...

Counsel: You were in a production of a Dumas play in the late 1980s, were you not? Based on The Three Musketeers saga?

Grellow: Yes, I was. The Guardian liked it. They said...

Counsel: For which you learnt to fence and do sword fights?

Grellow: That is true. I have always thought it odd that D'Artagnan and his chums were called musketeers, and yet we never see them using muskets, only swords...

Counsel: When you were off stage, did you find it hard to avoid the temptation to get into sword fights?

Grellow: The thought never entered my mind.

Counsel: I see. Now, playing the part of Captain Hook in panto last year, you must have spent many hours learning how to do things one-handed.

Grellow: That is true. The FT was kind enough to comment on my adeptness. When you have one hand and one hook, everything does seem more difficult. Except perhaps slicing bread. When you're holding a loaf down with a hook, you have less fear of cutting yourself...

Counsel: When the panto was finished, did you find yourself still doing things one-handed?

Grellow: No.

Judge: Excuse me butting in, but is this line of questioning leading anywhere? Are we going to look at every theatre production Mr Grellow has ever been in?

Grellow: And they are many, sir. I believe it was the Leicester Mercury who once said of me...

Counsel: No, m'Lord. I am merely establishing that of all the things which Mr Grellow has been forced to do on stage, none of them seems to have been addictive except, so he claims, smoking. It seems very odd that nothing else has affected him.

Judge: Perhaps he is lucky he has never been in a play where he has been obliged to do a lot of drinking.

Grellow: Oh, but I have, sir! I was in Treasure Island for six months once, and got through a great deal of rum! Of course, it wasn't really rum. It was cold tea.

Counsel: Did you get a taste for it?

Grellow: For cold tea? Not at all!

Counsel: How very odd. You are forced to smoke every night and you claim to acquire the habit. You are forced to drink tea every night, and you claim that the opposite happened. There is no consistency in your reactions to the world around, is there, Mr Grellow?

Grellow: Oh, for Christ's sake! What are you sodding driving at? Are you accusing me of being an effing liar?

Judge: Mr Grellow! I will not have language like this in my court!

Grellow: I am very sorry, sir. I am rehearsing for a Channel 4 play at the moment, in which my character has to swear a lot, and it's rather getting to me...

The case continues, though not in this column

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