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Whisky Galore turned into musical

14 May 09 12:43 GMT

It has been a book and a film, and now Whisky Galore has been turned into a musical being staged in Pitlochry.

In 1941, the SS Politician ran aground off Eriskay with about 250,000 bottles of the spirit aboard.

Author Compton MacKenzie used the event as the basis of his book Whisky Galore in 1947 and an Ealing comedy followed in 1949.

This will be the first time a musical has been staged by the Festival Theatre since it was founded in 1951.

Writer of the show, Shona McKee McNeil told BBC Scotland the idea came from a rather famous name in theatre.

'Talented musicians'

She said: "A colleague of ours was chatting to Cameron MacIntosh about another project and he said 'Why don't you look at the work of Compton MacKenzie and especially Whisky Galore?'

"We thought, 'Good idea', so that's where it actually came from.

"I went up to Barra to do some research and met some wonderful characters and then started writing."

Composer Ian Hammond Brown also visited the area and decided to mix traditional folk song with Big Band music of the 1940s.

"There's bagpipes in there, there's guitars, and all the cast are very talented musicians, so they're all playing various instruments throughout, as well as singing and dancing," he said.

Director Ken Alexander added: "It's probably the hardest thing I've ever had to cast because we've had to find a wholly Scottish cast who can't only act and move and dance to different levels but play lots of instruments as well, so that's been a real challenge for me."

The musical opens at the Festival Theatre on Friday.

If it is a success it is hoped theatres in London and Broadway will be interested in staging it.

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