Page last updated at 11:17 GMT, Monday, 8 June 2009 12:17 UK

Play honours Associates frontman


The play is named after the Dundee cemetery where the tragic star is buried

Scottish pop star Billy Mackenzie will be celebrated in a new play opening in his home town of Dundee this week.

Mackenzie was the flamboyant singer in the Associates, who had 80s hits such Party Fears Two and Club Country.

He committed suicide in 1997 shortly before his 40th birthday. The play Balgay Hill takes its name from the cemetery in Dundee where he is buried.

The Dundee Rep show looks at his life and musical legacy through four fictional characters.

The Associates had a cult following which continued to grow even after Mackenzie took his own life.

Balgay Hill play
Mackenzie's story is told through four fictional characters

Balgay Hill director James Brining said: "Dundee, in the 80s particularly, there was a lot of difficulties that the city had to overcome and yet the thing I love about the city is that it constantly surprises you and it can be quite grungy, but also it can be really glamorous.

"You walk out of the theatre on a Saturday night and the place is buzzing in all sorts of different ways and I think Billy tapped into that sense of contradiction in a way."

Writer Simon Macallum added: "He was such a one-off really.

"I remember watching him back in the '80s when Dundee was quite a depressed place and he was just an amazing character who had this incredible voice which you either react with love or hate to and he's also a big risk-taker and full of contradictions.

"I think he's left a great legacy in terms of lots of different styles of music and just a larger than life character."

Mackenzie's former bandmate Alan Rankine has given his blessing and gave one of the band's unreleased songs to the show saying that recognition of the singer's contribution was long overdue.

Balgay Hill runs from 9 June to 27 June.

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