O Lord! The latest in PPP’s Mini Musicals Season, a satire by Hilary Brooks and Clive King, directed with great force by Ken Alexander, is a strange darkly comedic hybrid of Take the High Road and The Wicker Man. When free-spirited Morna (a dynamic Neshla Caplan) travels from Glasgow to the religious, repressed island of Munst to become a music teacher, the love affair she embarks upon with seemingly shy local headmaster, Angus Headmaster (Chris Forbes) is frowned upon by the locals, including his brother, Angus Minister (George Drennan) a real misogynistic pulpit thumper of the worst stripe. Pop music? DMs? Pink… hair? Not in this parish, lassie!
The songs are catchy and witty, and the script superb, bursting with scabrous one-liners which cut to the heart of patriarchal hypocrisy and Highland cliches. This is embodied by a superb Pauline Knowles as buttoned-up (what else?) Bhean Angus Minister whose prim disposition suggests Miss Jean Brodie, but with a hipflask full of booze.
The parodied tropes of musical theatre come faster than reconstituted haggis, and there is a real tension, not least when the young headmaster is revealed as a potential wife-beater.
But it’s George Drennan’s show all the way- he is magnificent- hilarious and not a little bit creepy- as the fire and brimstone man of the cloth, railing against the music of Satan himself- Boy George(!) Well, it is set in the mid -eighties, after all. It may not end prettily, but Morna’s freedom is favoured over a life of servitude in the Church of the Poison Mind. Amen to that.
At Oran Mor until 17th June