Gregory’s Girl musical set to be launched

Leona Craig and Reece Liversedge play Dorothy and Gregory in the new musical.

Leona Craig and Reece Liversedge play Dorothy and Gregory in the new musical.

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It is the coming-of-age Scottish comedy classic that has won the hearts of millions and turned its cast of unknowns into overnight stars.

Now the 35th anniversary of the release of Gregory’s Girl will be marked with the first ever musical version of the story of the awkward teenager who falls for one of his classmates when she joins the school football team.

A cast of pupils will be bringing back to life the much-loved characters of Gregory, Dorothy and the rest their schoolfriends whose antics regularly see the film voted one of the best British comedies of all time.

Bill Forsyth, the writer and director of the 1981 movie, which was shot in Cumbernauld, has given special permission for the production to be staged in Crieff High School next week.

Its creator hopes to take the show to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe if there is enough interest generated by the initial three-night run of the show, which will feature Reece Liversedge and Leona Craig playing Gregory and Dorothy.

David Griffiths, principal music teacher at the school, has written more than ten original songs for the show, inspired by the film’s classic scenes and much-loved characters.

The story, which offered a twist to the familiar cinematic tale of unrequited love, was the first hit notched up by Glasgow-born Forsyth, who went on to enjoy further success with Local Hero and Comfort and Joy. Gregory’s Girl, which starred John Gordon Sinclair, Dee Hepburn and Clare Grogan, is one of just a handful of Scottish films to be turned into a musical.

Whisky Galore, the Ealing classic which was based on Compton Mackenzie’s best-selling novel, was turned into a musical ten years ago by writer Shona McKee McNeil and composer Ian Hammond Brown.

The National Theatre of Scotland staged a musical inspired by the cult horror The Wicker Man, which Still Game star Greg Hemphill wrote and starred in, four years ago.

Mr Griffiths, who started work on the show five years ago, is launching the new-look version of Gregory’s Girl a decade after reaching the final of a competition by stage impresario Sir Cameron Mackintosh to find a new Highland musical.

Mr Griffiths also played trombone in the amateur Stirling Orchestra which reached the final of the BBC’s All Together Now competition at the Royal Albert Hall.

He said: “I just really like Gregory’s Girl. I’ve always felt it was a perfect little film that would make a great musical show. There was just one of those things in my brain that made me really want to do it.

“You have to seek permission and pay for the rights to anything from an original film script. There is also an adapted version of Gregory’s Girl for use in school classrooms or shows. But I had to get

special permission from Bill Forsyth for a musical version. “We really had to leave the script alone. Because of that, a lot of the script is actually set to music, but there are more than ten songs in the show at the moment.

“I do hope I’ve got it right, as it’s such a fantastic script. Gregory’s Girl is one of those things a lot of people hold dear – the film has a legacy and a spot in the hearts of people so I hope my music does it justice.”

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