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Coventry's Ron stars in Old Vic's Dylan hit


COVENTRY’S very own Ron Cook is appearing in what must be one of the more unusual hits to grace the London stage.

Ron (below), whose acting career was forged at the Criterion in Earlsdon, has a key role in Girl From the North Country, at the Old Vic.

It has won rave reviews: The Guardian called it “exceptional”, the Independent said it was “inspired and beautiful”. But it’s only on until Saturday (October 7), so grab tickets quickly, if there are any left.

The play was born out of an astonishing approach to writer Conor McPherson by Bob Dylan, no less. The suggestion was that McPherson write a play using Dylan songs – any of the songs, used in any way McPherson thought fit.

He rose to the challenge, and Girl From the North Country is the triumphant result. Set in depression era America, it focuses on a rag-bag group of characters in a boarding house in Duluth, Minnesota (Dylan’s home town), all struggling with their own problems and demons.

The atmosphere of the time is masterfully evoked, but it’s the use of Dylan’s songs that makes the play transcendental, reinterpreting them and filling them with new meaning.

There’s a big cast and Ron Cook plays the local doctor who narrates and has the last moving words.

Ron was six when he moved to Coventry with his family. He went to Caludon Castle School and was persuaded by his headmaster to try acting as a career. Now 69, his CV takes in TV, stage and film: Roles in everything from Blackadder, Dr Who and Bergerac, to King Lear and Twelfth Night.

Films he has been in include The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, Chocolat, Charlotte Gray, and Thunderbirds. He is now patron of the Criterion.

For tickets for Girl From the North Country, go to www.oldvictheatre.com

Main picture: Old Vic.

Winner!