In a world heavily reliant on CGI and blockbuster special effects, Whisky Galore is a welcome reminder of the somewhat more simplistic methods of production in radio dramas. Its a laugh-a-minute show: a thrill to watch and a fascinating insight to the conventions of sound effects and their contribution towards the success of radio productions.
Set in an art deco BBC Radio Studio, we are introduced to three frightfully polite actors and their long-suffering studio manager. A range of obscure props are set around the studio; their use throughout the show to recreate a series of everyday sounds is simply ingenious. As Colin Sutherland’s studio manager dashes between props creating sounds of rain, waves, animals, social events and much more, the actors must tackle thirty roles within the radio production and cope with the demands of being live on air, of constantly switching roles and the implications of some ill-timed sound effects.
The radio show itself is the story of Little and Great Todday, two Highland islands suffering from war rations and a distinct lack of whisky. This is quickly solved, however, when a cargo ship carrying 50,000 cases of whisky finds itself run aground not too far from the thirsty Todday citizens. The show’s audience becomes the Radio Studio’s audience, encouraged by the use of placards to get involved with the provision of those all important sound effects.
The fluidity of the piece is a testament to the performers involved, the superb Darren Brownlie’s flamboyant Findlay Easton-Crane producing roars of laughter from the audience by a mere flick of the hair, raise of the eyebrow or occasional highland fling. Helen McAlpine is impressive in a string of diverse roles whilst Barrie Hunter, too, is in fine form as the moustache proud Garth Helmock.
It truly is giggles galore in this joyous production. Attending radio performances is a social event of days gone by but Whisky Galore proves that this form of entertainment is still a fantastically enthralling night of laughter that you won’t want to forget in a hurry.