Whisky Galore a musical!

Synopsis

Unlike the film, the creators have brought an important aspect of the book to life i.e. the relevance of the faith of the ‘Two Toddays’ i.e. Catholic and Protestant.

Home

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The musical starts with our hero Sergeant Odd who returns to the islands from fighting in WW2 in Africa. Before he reports in on the mainland to the never-seen-but-often-heard-of Major Quiblaick, he sails on the supply boat, the Island Queen, with Captain MacKechnie. It is the Captain who keeps the islanders informed throughout the musical with what is going on on the mainland as regards the whisky drought.  We meet the major players as they watch the boat arrive at the harbour, keen to find out if the Captain has brought whisky as well as vital tools and supplies.  They are to be disappointed on all accounts.

We are introduced to the two romantic couples; Peggy Macroon and the Sergeant, George Campbell and Catriona MacLeod.  The situation between each couple is set up immediately with the Church of England Sergeant stepping foot on the quay and promptly proposing to Peggy who happens to be a Catholic, much to the chagrin of her father Joseph Macroon who recently lost his wife and has no intention of losing his daughter especially not to an Englishman.

I'm your mother

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Meanwhile, the headstrong Catriona is getting restless at George’s lack of progress at telling his domineering ‘Wee Free’ mother, Mrs Campbell, about their relationship. George teaches at the local school and his assistant Jemima Ross is his mother’s preferred choice of a bride.

The One In My Heart

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Meanwhile Peggy, Seargeant Odd, George and Catriona have further ups and downs in love.

Add to the pot Father Macalister who tries to keep both sides in harmony especially at this difficult time just before Lent.  His seemingly gentle wit can suddenly hit the mark and he is the perfect conduit for some of Mackenzie’s sharp comments.  The Father’s ‘rival’ is the ineffectual Rev Morrison who keeps getting caught up with the shenanigans of the locals but ultimately it is he who helps Mrs Campbell save the island from the wiles of Captain Waggett, who sees his main duty to control the islanders in a style reminiscent of Captain Mannering.

Marching In Rhythm

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The islanders are lead by the Catholic Joseph Macroon who owns the local shop and post office but who would like to have his fingers in even more pies.  His foil is the Protestant Roderick Macrurie who owns the Snorvig Hotel and has to implement rations all round as the alcohol slowly dries up. He is devastated when his beer rationing apparently kills Captain MacPhee, the patriarch of the islands.

Characters such as Willie Munro – the only Protestant on Little Todday, Jockey Stewart, and the poet Duncan Macroon bring colour and adventure as they bring various escapades to life from the original text such as finding the urn on the beach and encountering the Tweed Merchant.  Other characters who were not developed a great deal by MacKenzie are given a much bigger role by the creative team such as Dolly Waggett and Jemima Ross who play foils to some of the main characters.

New Girl, Old Girl

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The changing nature of the islands is reflected in the music as we go from traditional 1940’s to swing.

The cast also double up playing smaller roles who only appear once such as the Exciseman, the Tweed Merchant, and a Glaswegian sailor from the SS Cabinet Minister when it runs aground.

Ralph the Rover

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The audience thoroughly enjoys the arrival of the cargo of whisky on the stricken ship at the end of the first half. The second half of the play is then devoted to the drinking of it, hiding of it, and the use of it at the engagement.  Though the course of true love however, doesn’t always run smooth, especially for George and Catriona.

Somewhere Inside

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The illegal removal of said whisky from the SS Cabinet Minister ultimately snares Captain Waggett as it almost sends him mad in his lone quest to control everyone and everything.

Engagements are followed by weddings and again we see how times are changing when one couple opt for a traditional island wedding while the other is a far more modern arrangement.

Finale

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The musical ends with the poet Duncan Macroon and the Sergeant’s mother, Mrs Odd, toasting the beautiful islands with uisge beathe as the sun sets.  All is well in heaven and on earth and the audience is left with the feeling that they may just have caught a glimpse of the soul of the Outer Hebrides.