Get Into The Scottish Spirit With Whisky Galore At The Belgrade Theatre

Get Into The Scottish Spirit With Whisky Galore At The Belgrade TheatreCoventry's Belgrade Theatre is getting into the Scottish spirit this season with a brand new adaptation of Compton MacKenzie's comic novel Whisky Galore.

Following hot on the heels of the Belgrade's run of smash hit Proclaimers musical Sunshine on Leith, this bold reimagining continues the Caledonian theme, inviting audiences to revisit the remote islands of Great and Little Todday in the company of the feisty all-female Pallas Players.

Set during the Second World War, MacKenzie's modern-day classic begins with the British government diverting whisky stocks to the Americans in an attempt to bribe them into supporting the war effort. As rationing bites, the Scottish islanders are dismayed to find their own supplies dwindling, until the wrecking of a 50,000 bottle cargo ship nearby seems to promise some relief.

At first it looks as though it's every islander for himself (or rather herself!) as they race to "save" as much of the precious stuff as possible. Unfortunately, stuffy Home Guard officer Paul Waggett soon steps in to stop the thirsty islanders from taking advantage of their good fortune.

Meanwhile, as in the finest of Shakespearean comedies, two weddings are planned: one hinging on the timid George Campbell plucking up enough (Dutch?) courage to stand up to his disapproving mother, the other involving a leading English Officer's romance with the daughter of a leading whisky filcher!

Inspired by the real-life sinking of the SS Politician off Eriskay in 1941, Whisky Galore is perhaps best known thanks to the hugely successful 1949 Ealing comedy film. Lauded as an exciting new talent in his day, MacKenzie was once described in by Henry James as one of the four future stars of the English novel in a 1914 piece for the Times Literary Supplement.

Conceived as a tribute to the fearless all-female touring theatre companies of the post-war years, this version by Philip Goulding (Our Gracie, A Fine Bright Day Today, The Road to Nab End) breathes fresh life into Mackenzie's masterpiece, presenting the story as a play performed by a women-only acting troupe.

Playwright Philip Goulding said: "I'd been reading about touring companies of the mid-20th century: Compass Players, Adelphi Players and the Osiris Players - Nancy Hewins' all-female touring company which began in 1927. I didn't want to write a play about them - Imogen Stubbs had already done that - but I wanted to pay tribute to those women by making a show set in 1955 featuring a fictional company of that kind.

"But I tried to avoid the idea of creating a play within a play, since it's not as important as the story of re-creating a production of Whisky Galore in 1955," he adds.

Whisky Galore is produced by Oldham Coliseum, Hull Truck Theatre and New Vic Theatre and directed by Kevin Shaw. Design is by Patrick Connellan, lighting is by Jason Taylor and sound is by Lorna Munden.

Casting for the show includes Sally Armstrong as Flora Bellerby, Lila Clements as Aileen McCormack, Isabel Ford as Bea Cornford, Christine Mackie as Win Hewitt, Joey Parsad as Doris Sanderson, Alicia McKenzie as Juliet Mainwaring and Shuna Snow as Connie Calvert.

Whisky Galore runs at the Belgrade Theatre Coventry from Wednesday 20 until Saturday 23 June. Tickets are available to book now by calling the box office on 024 7655 3055 or visiting www.belgrade.co.uk where prices are even cheaper.

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