EPT return to Todday

Mar 28 2013 | By More

It’s Whisky Galore for Edinburgh People’s Theatre’s 70th

Who ate the wasp? A scene from EPT's production of Whisky Galore. Photo © Robert Fuller

Where’s the wasp? EPT’s production of Whisky Galore. Photo © Robert Fuller

By Thom Dibdin

Edinburgh People’s Theatre are coming full circle in their seventieth anniversary production of Whisky Galore, which is at the Church Hill Theatre until Saturday.

It was EPT which premiered James Scotland’s stage adaptation of Sir Compton Mackenzie’s comic novel – at the 1966 Edinburgh Festival fringe – when Mackenzie was the club’s patron.

The novel famously tells of the goings on in the Hebridean islands of Great Todday and Little Todday in 1941, when the SS Cabinet Minister, laden with whisky, runs aground.

“When I was asked to direct Whisky Galore I was aware that this play presented a challenge,” says director Valerie Lennie. “The first challenge was simply casting the play – finding over 20 actors to play the various characters needed. I was delighted at the level of enthusiasm from club members – several were even willing to play non-speaking extras, just to be involved.

“There was also the historical challenge – this would be the first time E.P.T. had staged a production of Whisky Galore since the club presented the world premiere in 1966, during the period when Sir Compton Mackenzie was the Club’s Patron, setting a high bench-mark to live up to!”

If the tale feels slight in its action, with the miracle that is ‘uisge beatha gu leoir’ (whisky galore) smoothing the path of true love, not to mention helping the village schoolmaster to slay his personal dragon while providing something of a headache for the commander of the local Home Guard, the telling of it is not without its own difficulties.

“The staging was also challenging,” says Lennie. “The play has multiple scenes – not least, the all-dancing wedding ceilidh, and the mayhem involved in hiding large quantities of whisky from the excise men! Other scenes include a post office, the hold of a ship, a hotel bar, various sitting rooms, a moonlit beach…

“In the event, all the above possible difficulties have been overcome and audiences can look forward to this first production of EPT’s 70th year knowing that an evening spent in the company of the inhabitants of Sir Compton Mackenzie’s fictional islands ‘Great and Little Todday’ will be an evening full of laughter, and one to remember.”

Whisky Galore
Church Hill Theatre, Morningside Road, Edinburgh. Wed 27 – Sat 30 March 2013. 7.30pm.
Tickets £10 (£8) from the Queens Hall Box Office, Clerk Street, Edinburgh: 0131 668 2019.
Full details on EPT website: www.ept.org.uk



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