"A True Tale Charmingly Told"
by Debra Hall for remotegoat on 21/06/18

Nearing the end of its National Tour 2018; this play is charming. A quaint little true story about a wartime double community of small islanders, the home guard involvement and that of the customs officers. Compton MacKenzie's novel of the same title, about an incident in 1947, where a cargo consisting of bottles and bottles of Scotch whisky was salvaged by Scottish locals tells of some 'reeght ‘old goings on'! Note: Whisky Galore was turned into a popular b/w film by Ealing Studios in 1949.

This stage show production is expertly designed and well performed by an all-female cast. Sally Armstrong’s narration is deep and strong. Armstrong’s speech (in any of her character roles) doesn’t drift and dissipate in the same way it does for a few others who struggle maintaining a thick Scottish accent while projecting their voice sufficiently to reach those in the seats at the back. Ironically the play is set in a Cooperative Hall (1955) and this show would work better in a smaller venue any day of the week, frankly this production was not really suited to The Belgrade’s main stage. Attendance was relatively low last night.

This isn’t a ‘laugh a minute’ unfortunately, but there are some lovely comedy subtleties. Joey Parsad’s comic pacing as barman, Roderick MacRurie is prime. Isabel Ford as Paul Waggett and again as, Annag, handles two bold as brass characters superbly. Ford is all that Captain Mainwaring (BBC Dad’s Army) ever was as Waggett - so stuffy and opinionated! While she plays Annag like a man dressed as a woman might play a flirty blonde, so a kind of double take on the comedy front. These performances stand out, but all cast members are committed and good, and everyone works hard at handling a mix of larger than life characters.

The whisky isn’t the only superlative attached to this, the set design, wardrobe and props are lovely visual additions.

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