Markinch Amateur Operatic Society raise a glass to Whisky Galore...

Markinch Amateur Operatic Society (MAOS) cast perform Whisky Galore - A Musical!.  Picture by Ken Wilkie
Markinch Amateur Operatic Society (MAOS) cast perform Whisky Galore - A Musical!. Picture by Ken Wilkie

Markinch Town Hall is set to be full of Whisky Galore next week as the town’s amateur operatic society prepares to stage its new production.

And the company, which will be performing ‘Whisky Galore - A Musical!’ from Tuesday to Saturday next week, is enjoying a special helping hand from a Fifer who helped adapt the tale for the stage.

Ian Hammond Brown, who hails from Dunfermline, has come on board with Markinch Amateur Operatic Society (MAOS) as director for this latest production.

Ian, along with Shona McKee McNeil, adapted Compton Mackenzie’s popular tale from the novel to a musical.

He explained: “I was working with SusanLoftus from Cutting Edge Theatre company in Edinburgh and she had gone to London and managed to set up a chat with Cameron MacIntosh about producing musicals in Scotland. He suggested picking up on Compton Mackenzie’s work.

“I met up with Susan in Borders Bookshop and at that time we were trying to decide which of Mackenzie’s work to do. We saw Whisky Galore on the shelf and decided that was the one. It was one of my favourite films when I was young.

“We read the book and approached the relevant people to get the rights to adapt it.”

The production was first performed at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2006 and has grown from there.

Ian continued: “It was very successful there so I took it on from there and continued to develop it.

“Pitlochy Festival Theatre was looking at Mackenzie’s work so I went up there and pitched it and was commissioned to rewrite it for the 2009 season. After that I decided to release it for amateur productions.

“MAOS contacted me and asked if I was interested in directing their production of it.

“I was delighted to be asked and I hadn’t really worked on it since 2009.

“It’s been great going back and helping Markinch bring it to the stage.

“It’s been challenging at times, but it’s been good fun.”

‘Whisky Galore - A Musical!’ is set in 1943 when the curse of rationing has visited the remote Hebridean islands of Little Todday and Great Toddy to the extent that the thirsty islanders have all but run out of uisge beatha - ‘the water of life! ‘ - until a cargo ship runs aground with 50,000 cases of whisky on board.

Ian is currently working on a new musical called ‘Carnegie’, based on the life of Andrew Carnegie that will be staged at this summer’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Speaking about the Markinch production he added: “It’s all falling into place. It’s been a lot for the company to learn, as many weren’t that familiar with the musical. I think it will be an amazing night out.”

‘Whisky Galore - A Musical!’ runs at Markinch Town Hall from Tuesday, March 22 to Saturday, March 26. Tickets are available at www.
ticketsource.co.uk/maos.