Skip to main content

Whisky Galore

Dundee Rep
4 stars
Paul Godfrey’s stage adaptation of Compton Mackenzie’s famously filmed 
novel is as clever as Michael Frayn’s backstage farce, Noises Off.  
Framed as a 1950s BBC radio play, such a conceit not only allows for 
subtle hints of backstage shenanigans among its cast of three who 
appear alongside a tireless sound effects man. Sharing the original 
story’s multiple roles among the trio also makes for canny economic 
sense.

Godfrey’s version was last seen at the old Mull Little Theatre. Irene 
MacDougall’s new production, which tours community centres in the area 
this week, does much to capture the show’s essence, both in its 
stylistic dexterity and its deceptively subversive intent.

For those who don’t know it, Mackenzie’s World War Two-set yarn is set 
on two neighbouring islands whose whisky rationing is overcome via a 
fortuitous shipwreck’s offloaded cargo. As played here, an entire 
community is personified with a swiftly changed facial expression or 
accent. John Buick is leading man and narrator Sir Hoppy Caruthers, 
while Martin McBride’s dashing Dick Burns plays Hoppy’s assorted foils.

As regal diva Fanny Heywood-Haddock, Emily Winter plays all the women 
of the island, from battle-axes to belles, as well as several 
over-excited canines for good measure. There is the merest hint too of 
possible extra-curricular activities between the two fictional 
thespians that goes beyond professionalism. Unlike Frayn’s play, where 
one might expect things to fall apart, here they don’t.

Top marks must go to Kevin Lennon, who, as studio manager Ivor Ash, 
conjures up an entire audio world the old-fashioned way in a show that 
lays bare the full liberating power of what’s found in the bottom of a 
glass.

The Herald, October 30th 2012

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Honourable K.W. Harman: Ltd Ink Corporation

31 Bath Road, Leith Docks, March 17th-20th

In a monumental shipping container down by Leith Docks, a Sex Pistols tribute band is playing Anarchy in the U.K.. on a stage set up in the middle of the room. Either side, various constructions have been built in such a way so viewers can window shop as they promenade from one end of the room to the next, with the holy grail of a bar at either end.

Inbetween, there’s a confession booth and a mock-up of a private detective’s office with assorted documentation of real-life surveillance pinned to the walls. Two people seem to be having a conversation in public as if they're on a chat show. An assault course of smashed windows are perched on the floor like collateral damage of post-chucking out time target practice. A display of distinctively lettered signs originally created by a homeless man in search of a bed for the night are clumped together on placards that seem to be marking out territory or else finding comfort in being together. Opp…

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…

Scot:Lands 2017

Edinburgh's Hogmanay
Four stars

A sense of place is everything in Scot:Lands. Half the experience of Edinburgh's Hogmanay's now annual tour of the country's diverse array of cultures seen over nine bespoke stages in one global village is the physical journey itself. Scot:Lands too is about how that sense of place interacts with the people who are inspired inspired by that place.

So it was in Nether:Land, where you could see the day in at the Scottish Storytelling Centre with a mixed bag of traditional storytellers and contemporary performance poets such as Jenny Lindsay. The queues beside the Centre's cafe were further enlivened by the gentlest of ceilidhs was ushered in by Mairi Campbell and her band.

For Wig:Land, the grandiloquence of the little seen Signet Library in Parliament Square was transformed into a mini version of the Wigtown Book Festival. While upstairs provided a pop-up performance space where writers including Jessica Fox and Debi Gliori read eithe…