Review: An Appointment with the Wicker Man - Theatre Royal, Glasgow

An Appointment with the Wicker Man

Scotland has a long history of variety and amateur dramatics. An Appointment with the Wicker Man recognises and acknowledges the heritage of Scottish theatre but also takes a tongue in cheek look at life behind the scenes of am-dram productions. What it creates is a wonderful pastiche of the typical amateur dramatics that bring drama to community halls throughout Scotland as well as the acknowledgement of the impact that current global trends, such as TV hit Glee, have on am-dram productions.

As the curtain rises to reveal the Loch Parry Players in full fisherman’s waterproofs singing an eerie tune to the backdrop of their small set within a set, it becomes clear that all will not be as it seems throughout. The opening scene sets the tone for the whole evening with the audience immediately caught off-guard; leaving those who were perhaps expecting a faithful tribute to the Wicker Man film bemused and film purists undoubtedly irate.

Co-written by Donald McLeary and Scottish comedy star Greg Hemphill, who also appears as the effervescent Finlay, it is a brilliant play within a play that leaves the audience suitably unnerved at times but equally laughing out loud at the wonderful comedy running through the piece. The show is also peppered with hilarious one-liners that keep the audience on their toes. Anyone who has had any involvement in am-dram will recognise all the Loch Parry Players instantly and perhaps a bit of themselves if they've been brave enough to tread the am-dram boards.

The Loch Parry Players initially come across as insanely happy members of the remote community of a Scottish isle but the swaggering arrival of Rory, played by Sean Biggerstaff, who is a professional actor brought in from the mainland to save the show. Rory's presence quickly unravels the happy go lucky facade of the merry band of amateur actors. Each of the cast is excellent in their roles from Paul Riley as the drug-hazed Fran to Ros Sydney as the sex-starved, quirky Morag. Sally Reid deserves a special mention for managing to look fabulous in “the Ingrid suit” and if you want to find out what that is you’ll have to book a ticket – it’s worth it I promise!

One of the great aspects of social media interacting with theatre is that if you want to find out more about the Loch Parry Players you can watch the meet the players video or follow their techie Duncan on twitter @lochparryplayer
With comedy, song, dance, and some truly unnerving moments An Audience with the Wicker Man encapsulates the very best of Scottish theatre and it’s definitely one to catch before the tour ends.
I will certainly be keeping an eye out for the next production on Summerisle.

Click on the venue name to book tickets.

Until 3rd March
Theatre Royal, Glasgow

6th - 10th March
Eden Court, Inverness