Local Hero

On Saturday night when atmospheric conditions were perfect for a sighting of the northern lights – although sadly not in the Lothians – we at the Lyceum enjoyed spectacular blazing skies in the superbly staged production of Local Hero.

This musical version of the well-loved film, currently delighting audiences in an already extended run, has excellent credentials. The book is by Bill Forsyth and David Greig, music and lyrics by Mark Knopfler, stunning set design and lighting by Scott Pask and Paule Constable. In a co-production with The Old Vic in London, David Greig of the Lyceum has amassed an impressive group of musicians and actors who have come together in an impressive way.

Damian Humbley as Mac has the breezy, go-getting easiness of any American tycoon sent to a small, unimportant Scottish backwater, while Matthew Pidgeon as Gordon gives an inspired performance as the local man o’pairts – part hotel owner, accountant, lawyer and tango dancer. His exuberant, shoulder shrugging, gleeful dance for the musical number “Filthy Dirty Rich is a joy to behold.

The spectacular beauty and uniqueness of Ferness, a village under threat of becoming an oil refinery is most evocatively expressed by Stella (Katrina Bryan), an incomer from Glasgow who can truly appreciate the stunning scenery, sunsets and big night skies that surround her.

Great set dance pieces, Mark Knopfler music played by an ace band of seven musicians, humour and likeable characters – they’re all here. The stage set of an overhanging projected hemisphere is a wonder of versatility, from the ever changing screens of the stock exchange, a rapidly ascending lift, and the glorious skies of Ferness.

This is a feel good story with a serious message that has stood the test of time, the decline of the oil industry, and the passing of the telephone box. The young must gaze in disbelief at the sight of a multi-million deal oil tycoon frantically feeding money into a beeping slot in a small red tardis. History, all of it, and well worth seeing.

Lyceum Theatre until Saturday 4th May


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