Theatre review: Wee Free! The Musical

Neshla Caplan and Chris Forbes deliver two delightful performances
Neshla Caplan and Chris Forbes deliver two delightful performances
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Although church attendance in Scotland has plummeted since the 1960s, and the country is now almost as thoroughly secular as England, the nation somehow still seems to enjoy its traditional self-image as a place full of troublesome ministers with stern views; and so it is in this latest Play, Pie And Pint lunchtime mini-musical, written by Hilary Brooks and Clive King.

Oran Mor, Glasgow ****

Admittedly, the story is set in the early 1980s, a full generation ago; so it’s perhaps not surprising that when Morna, a Glasgow music teacher with purple-streaked hair and lime-green leggings, arrives on the small Hebridean island of Munst, her style and appearance cause a stir, as does her burgeoning romance with Angus Headteacher, the brother of the local man of God, Angus Minister.

And although Angus Minister, played with relish by George Drennan, insists on denouncing her from the pulpit, just for a moment it looks as if love will conquer fear, bigotry and ancient patriarchy, as Angus and Morna get married, and set up home.

Things go pear-shaped in the end, of course, thanks to Angus’s inner struggle between his wish to become a modern man, and old island traditions and expectations. But along the way, Neshla Caplan and Chris Forbes deliver two delightful performances as the young lovers, belting out their fine songs of love and disappointment with a will; while Pauline Knowles, as the minister’s stern wife, wears a knitted beret and tweed suit with rare distinction, and also reveals a taste for alcohol that has the audience rolling in the aisles, almost – but not quite – until the final curtain.

JOYCE MCMILLAN

Final performance today