Billy is back in Kirkcaldy with a classic

Billy Mack (second right), in A Streetcar Named Desire
Billy Mack (second right), in A Streetcar Named Desire

Legendary Kirkcaldy panto dame Billy Mack is making a return to the Lang Toun.

But, fans may not recognise him without his usual outlandish make up and costumes as he takes to the stage in a production of the iconic play A Streetcar Named Desire.

Billy Mack as Kirkcaldy audiences are more used to seeing him

Billy Mack as Kirkcaldy audiences are more used to seeing him

The Tennessee Williams classic has been adapted by Glasgow-based Rapture Theatre and is currently touring venues across Scotland.

Billy says so far it’s been well received.

“It’s going very well. It’s a beast of a play!

“We’ve got colour blind casting with the two main male characters being black, which has been a bit controversial with one or two critics which was surprising.

“Nowhere did Tennessee Williams state that the two actors should be white. They’re great actors and I’m learning a lot from them.

“I’ve been working with Dundee Rep for the last couple of years which has been great, but working with new people has been really exciting.”

The 1951 film version of Streetcar starring Marlon Brando is for many the definitive take on the play, so was it daunting presenting a new version?

“No, it’s not broken,” Billy says, “There is a whole generation which will be studying Williams at school which may not have seen the film, so it’s great to go and see it first hand in a theatre.

“There’s something different when you are sat amongst it in a theatre audience and see the sparks fly. There’s no reason why these plays shouldn’t be toured around Scotland.”

The play comes to Kirkcaldy on Thursday, September 28 – the theatre which, for 10 years, was Billy’s home every Christmas as he wowed audiences as the panto dame.

He said. “I do miss Kirkcaldy.

“It’s where I started being a dame and where I got my first taste of doing it and from day one the audiences were brilliant.

“Last year the Cultural Trust decided to go in a different direction. It was a sair yin, I must admit, because I had built a family there. There were the same people you saw every year that you spent a lot of time with so it was tough.

“You do have to change though. Maybe I was past my sell by date in Kirkcaldy?

“But the Alhambra gave me a shout so I went there last year and I’m back again this Christmas. It’s a fantastic opportunity and I still love it.

“I’ve still got loads of pals at the Adam Smith and I still love Kirkcaldy so I’m looking forward to coming back, though without all my slap on when I walk about no-one recognises me.

“Who’s this wee, old fellow with a big beer gut?!”