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Islanders have a fling as scotch lands on the rocks


Whisky Galore, Belgrade Theatre, until June 23

Having never seen the classic 1949 Ealing comedy Whisky Galore, I was looking forward to finding out the story behind a film which is listed as one of the British Film Institute's top 100 films of all time.

I was not disappointed. Philip Goulding’s adaptation of this tale of whisky, shipwreck and Scottish islanders, breathes fresh life into Compton Mackenzie’s famous story.

It's 1955, and the wily Outer Hebrides islanders, led by the redoubtable Flora Bellerby (Sally Armstrong), band together to take on the authorities, led by the officious Paul Waggett of the Home Guard (Isabel Ford). The versatile and hard-working cast of seven female actors (the Pallas Players) give convincing performances of 26 varied and colourful characters.

This new production is also a tribute to the fearless all-female touring theatre companies of the post-war years.

The staging, designed by Patrick Connellan, consists of ingenious barge-like boxes which seamlessly fold out to create ships, cars and quaysides. This, coupled with the rapid cast changes, transport us to the islands of Little Todday and Great Todday and the interwoven lives and trials and tribulations of the islanders as they strive to retrieve the maximum number of bottles of whisky from the shipwreck lying just off their islands.

Clashes between the islanders, the authorities and the jobsworth Home Guard officer ensue in this feel-good celebration of wartime community spirit.

Just like a good malt whisky, it will warm your cockles.

For tickets go to: http://www.belgrade.co.uk/

Winner!