Chasing the spirit of teenage rebellion

Young cast members Kira Linich, Kate McVey, Michael Foley McPherson and Grace Corrigan.
Young cast members Kira Linich, Kate McVey, Michael Foley McPherson and Grace Corrigan.

SOUTHERN charm, rock and roll, mistaken identities and a host of talented southsiders – Runway Theatre Company’s latest show has it all.

The group are the first am dram society in Scotland to stage Whistle Down the Wind, an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical based on the 1961 film.

For those who don’t recognise the name, perhaps one song in particular will be more familiar. After all, the ballad No Matter What became a number one hit for Boyzone, and still holds the record for the best selling single from a musical.

The story centres around three children who find an escaped convict hiding in their barn – and who they mistake for Jesus Christ.

Runway’s actors may be perfecting that southern droll as you read, as the musical version is set in Christmas-time Louisiana (1959, to be precise).

Leading the pack as The Man himself is Shawlands man J Campbell Kerr, and despite a demanding rehearsal schedule and songs to perfect, he’s relishing the part.

Joining Campbell on stage are 17-year-old Elle Walsh (in the role of Swallow, originally played by Hayley Mills) and Kate McVey, another young southsider taking on the role of Brat.

For director Robert Fyfe, it’s the company’s biggest challenge yet – but one which he hopes Runway will rise to.

Having moved from pantomimes at Eastwood Park into musicals in recent years, the team staged another Scottish premiere – The Drowsy Chaperone – last year.

Robert told Live!: “This proved a great success, and our members and audiences have been asking what we’re doing next.

“When applications were invited from theatre groups to perform Whistle Down the Wind, we never expected to be selected – let alone be given the honour of presenting the Scottish amateur premiere”.

An honour indeed — and one which should convince musical aficionados that this production is one to watch.

n Whistle Down the Wind is on at the Mitchell Theatre from September 12-15. Performances at 7.30pm, with a 2.30pm Saturday matinee. Tickets £12-£16, available on 07801048527.

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