A FORMER Kirkcaldy man is preparing to don a skintight catsuit and a purr-fect face of make-up when he takes to the stage at the Edinburgh Playhouse next week.
Ross Finnie, who grew up in the Lang Toun and Glenrothes, will play Skimbleshanks in the popular musical ‘Cats’ when it opens for its new tour in the capital on February 9.
The 41-year-old actor, who now lives between London and Scotland, first got into musical theatre when he was living in Fife.
He explained: “I went to youth theatre in Lochgelly and when I was 14 or 15 I did my first show, which was ‘Guys and Dolls’.
“That’s where I got the bug!”
From there Ross went on to study at Kirkcaldy Technical College before receiving a grant from Fife Regional Council and moving to London to study at the Arts Educational School.
Since then he’s gone on to appear on stage in the likes of ‘Scrooge’, ‘Sunset Boulevard’, ‘Dr Dolittle’ and ‘Pickwick’.
He’s also appeared in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Cats’ before.
Ross told the Press: “I did ‘Cats’ for the first time about 10 years ago.
“I was Bill Bailey, which is quite a small role, and I was offered two understudies at the time.
“One of them was Skimbleshanks, the cat I’m playing now.
“I then did ‘Singing In the Rain’ before returning to do the last run of ‘Cats’ in London when I played Skimbleshanks.
“It’s really great fun to be doing it again.
“The first day [of rehearsals] was quite nostalgic and a little tearful to be honest.
“I have so many memories of the show it’s such a privilege to be offered it again.
“I feel I’m playing him at an age now that’s right to play him.
“He’s a bit of an uncle character and I feel I’m a bit more right for it now.
“I really like Skimbleshanks because he’s a very funny cat.
“He’s very enthusiastic and also a busy-body and likes to get involved and help organise things, he’s a bit like myself really!”
The musical, which is one of the longest running musicals in the West End, is based on T.S Eliot’s ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats’ and has one of Lloyd Webber’s most memorable musical scores, sets and extraordinary costumes.
Ross added: “The first time I did the show I was almost in tears trying to get the make-up right every night and the costume feeling comfortable.
“You feel so exposed up there, because you are.
“You have nothing to hide behind in ‘Cats’.
“I think that’s part of the show’s uniqueness.”