Auchtermuchty Theatre Group has produced another winner with their excellent production of Whisky Galore, a play by James Scotland, based on the novel by Compton Mackenzie.
Co-directors Barbara and Drew McCanney put the audience in the right mood before the play even began as Lindsay Stark was outside playing his bagpipes as we arrived.
The set was simple and most effective with minimum change necessary to adapt it to different scenes.
Lindsay Petrie, as Duncan Ban, in kilt and Aran sweater, was the narrator and poet who set the scene and led us through the play in a gentle, lilting, Hebridean accent which never faltered.
The play is set in 1943 when World War II has brought rationing to the Hebridean Isles of Protestant Great Toddy and Catholic Little Toddy. The drama opens with Biffer (Peter Thomson), Jockey (Steven Robertson) and Joseph Macroon (Donald Lothian) in the bar, bemoaning the fact that the islands have run out of whisky. Drew McCanney, as Roderick McRurie, is the dejected man behind the bar. All four are totally despondent and despairing but also very funny!
We then are taken to the home of Captain and Mrs Waggett, ably played by Chris Perry and Fiona Hunter. Captain Waggett, of the English Home Guard, feels thwarted by the islanders at every turn (bearing a passing resemblance to Arthur Lowe in Dad’s Army!)
To add to the mix are two couples who want to be married but are meeting parental opposition. Susan Smith is a feisty Peggy, a strong young woman who is determined to make her hapless partner gain her father’s permission – no easy task for Shaun Donley as Sgt Major Odd.
The other couple have an even greater problem in the form of Liz Rowley, playing George Campbell’s God fearing, righteous and wrath-filled mother. Lewis Snowden, as George, has an unenviable task trying to persuade her.
Then word of the shipwreck of SS Cabinet Minister, carrying 28,000 cases of whisky, reaches the islands and everything changes as the islanders row out to bring back cases of whisky. Now there is Whisky Galore!
Thanks to the intervention of Brian Imrie, as Father MacAlister, Peggy’s father Joseph gives permission for the wedding.
Lieutenant Boggust (Peter Jellicoe), a spy sent to find those who are stealing the whisky, is outwitted and everyone enjoys the wedding party where an inordinate amount of whisky is consumed and there is dancing to the music of Jim McLaren.
Young George goes home in an inebriated state, giving him the courage to confront his mother. She capitulates and another wedding can be arranged!
The acting throughout the play was of a very high standard and there was a great deal of laughter from the audience who thoroughly enjoyed all the humour and fun.
Mention must also be made of the crew – lighting, sound, set design, set construction and scene changes were all faultless. Props, wardrobe, hair and makeup were true to the times. The prompt was seldom heard.
As usual in Auchtermuchty productions, the front of house team, managed by Sheila Smith, did a first class job – from selling tickets to serving ice cream in the interval.
Well done Auchtermuchty Theatre Group!
We look forward to future productions.