An extraordinary wartime story once emerged from the Outer Hebrides concerning a ship that foundered in rough seas on rocks off Eriskay and dumping its cargo of 264,000 bottles of Scotch Whisky into the sea. This was a true story and one which Compton Mackenzie based his 1947 novel on – which in turn created a classic comedy universally known as Whisky Galore.
And it’s fair to say Whisky Galore has sailed right into the New Vic Theatre bringing with it a seven-strong cast who explore Mackenzie’s creation with sheer brilliance via Philip Goulding’s adaptation.
The SS Politician, shipwrecked in 1941 in the Outer Hebrides, no doubt brought about various trials and tribulations which are explored through humour in this show. As the audience is invited to join the islanders of Great and Little Todday it’s soon apparent it’s not the war which is the main concern, but it is the shortage of whisky they are facing.
Relationships are tested as the locals go about their own rescue mission to retrieve as much of the shipwreck’s stock as possible. But hiding their plot from the authorities proves troublesome as a disliked Army Captain is hot on their tails.
Each actor plays four or five characters each switching from Army Inspectors, spies, bar tenders – where Joey Parsad is superb – to a pet dog.
Deliberate prop mishandling, forgotten costume changes and stage mismanagement all add to the humour which is cleverly crafted and superbly delivered by the cast all amongst a moving set which splits into pieces.
Isabel Ford and Christine Mackie are genius while Shuna Snow is hilarious as Major Quiblick.
It’s not unfair to say some aspects of the show are not the easiest to follow, but the dynamic acting masterclass played out in front of you makes Whisky Galore one to see!
Whiskey Galore finished on Sat Jun 2 2018.