Whisky Galore: Best Served with Water of Life

Isabel Ford and Christine Mackie in Whisky Galore, photo courtesy of York Theatre Royal

Isabel Ford and Christine Mackie in Whisky Galore, photo courtesy of York Theatre Royal

Director Kevin Shaw pools the resources of Oldham Coliseum Theatre, Hull Truck Theatre and New Vic Theatre to produce this new adaptation of Whisky Galore, written by Philip Goulding, set in a nineteen-fifties Cooperative Hall. Inspired by post-war all-female touring theatre troupes like the Osiris Players, this light-hearted show pays homage to a domino-set of communities in its conception, honouring the simple pleasures in life.

The comedy and cleverness of Compton Mackenzie’s Scottish wartime farce sails above the audience as peacefully as the coveted cargo eludes its British captors. The mischievous cast bring heart and warmth to a sunday afternoon tale which would be served just as well by cardboard and tin foil as by the hefty endowment of set and props carted on-stage and off even for the briefest of moments, the cheapest of chuckles. Everything is worth their indulgence for the laughs – these women are here to make friends.

The cast are vibrant and charming, their surroundings and material more faded. Isabel Ford’s Waggett and Shuna Snow’s Odd are particular highlights. Accents range and evolve wildly, serving a reminder that to be toyed with, regional caricature must first be accurately observed. While it is rewarding seeing multiple women resourcefully step up to the same role when required, the joy of the tale is so rooted in dialogue that it might be better placed in radio.

Catch the show at York Theatre Royal, playing until Saturday. Tickets and more information available here.

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