Diverse Schotse theaterpersoonlijkheden zijn in opstand gekomen tegen het rookverbod in dat deel van het Verenigd Koninkrijk dat het rookverbod in maart van dit jaar invoerde. Mel Smith, een belangrijk acteur in het theaterstuk Allegiance waar hij Churchill speelt, rookt normaal tijdens de voorstelling een derde van een sigaar. Dat zou nu verboden zijn. Hij is er woedend over:
“The smoking ban would have delighted Adolf Hitler”
Hill Street Theatre manager Tomek Borkowy heeft al aangekondigd een dringend verzoek aan het Schotse parlement te zullen sturen om de wet aan te passen.
HE SHALL light up on the beaches, in the fields and… the Assembly Rooms. He shall never surrender.
Mel Smith, the comedian, actor and director, has flashed a giant Churchillian V-sign at the Scottish Parliament by threatening to smoke on stage at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Smith, who plays the cigar-chomping wartime leader in the play Allegiance, claims the smoking ban “would have delighted Adolf Hitler”.
Saying he only smokes a third of a cigar during the show, Smith states he would be “amazed” if anyone tried to stop him and challenges the authorities to “extradite” him if he does.
Smoking in any enclosed public space was made an offence in March this year and dozens of people have already been fined or cautioned.
This year’s Fringe is the first since the ban was introduced and several other venues are threatening to break the law in what they insist are the interests of artistic integrity.
Smith’s play, which is considered one of the must-see shows of the Fringe, is inspired by Irish rebel Michael Collins’ real-life visit to London in 1921. The play is based on the fiction that, over the course of one night, Churchill and Collins meet and become friends.
Smith told Scotland on Sunday: “Who knows, maybe I’ll light it [the cigar]. Maybe I won’t. But maybe I will. I mean, what are they going to do to me? Are they going to extradite me?
“I would imagine that literally a third of a Romeo & Julietta [cigar] is all that gets smoked. On that basis, I would be amazed if anybody had the gall to try and stop me doing it.
“Maybe we should just say to people, ‘Please be warned: Mel Smith does smoke a third of a Romeo & Julietta cigar in this show. If you fear for your health, don’t come.’
“It’s very funny, because I don’t know why theatrically you’re not allowed to.”
The comedian went on to slam the Scottish Parliament, and made scathing comparisons between the originators of the bill and anti-smoking obsessive Adolf Hitler.
Smith, who has ruled out using a fake cigar, added: “I will not have people protecting me from myself. That’s the whole problem with this country.
“I’ve often wondered what the Scottish Parliament does. Maybe this is an opportunity for me to find out. The thing I would like to say about it is that it would have delighted Adolf Hitler. Adolf Hitler, as you know, was anti-smoking. You couldn’t smoke at Adolf Hitler’s dining table, so he’d be pleased, wouldn’t he? Congratulations Scotland.”