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Katie Morag

Published Monday 21 April 2008 at 15:05 by Thom Dibdin

Pleasing to the lower end of its target four to nine-year-old audience, Mull Theatre’s touring production of Katie Morag is something of a mixed bag. At its heart there is a great little story, of Mairi Hedderwick’s likeable human heroine meeting up with a pair of American cousins who, after a treasure hunt round the island of Struay, turn out not to be the spoilt brats they originally seemed to be.

Unfortunately the adaptation and direction are, at times, so two dimensional that the story barely seems to have risen from the page to the stage. Lisa Grindall’s script is overburdened with expositions where she fails to credit her audience with the intelligence to work out for themselves what is happening. The consequent wordy passages, delivered by a serriedly ranked cast, are an invitation to rustle sweetie papers and lose concentration.

When Grindall does trust her audience, and Fletcher Mathers allows his actors to perform, it whistles jollily along. Sheena Penson is a solidly down to earth Granny Island, while Annette Staines has just the right hint of Morningside matron to her Granma Mainland.

Pamela Byrne (Princess) and Allan Gilmour (Dude) impress as the American cousins changing their perspective on island life - and providing the audience with an alternative way in to the plot. Sally Reid’s Katie Morag is friendly enough, but is hampered by the overtly Christmas show-style breaking of the fourth wall.

Robin People’s set, realised by Eve Murray and Emma Murray, is faithful to Hedderwick’s original drawings. Which, rather than bringing them to life, creates a cut-out version, lacking that third dimension.

Production information

Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, April 15-19, then touring until May 24

Lisa Grindall, based on the stories by Mairi Hedderwick, with additional material from Fletcher Mathers, Gordon Dougall and Alasdair McCrone
Fletcher Mathers with Gordon Dougall
Mull Theatre in association with Byre Theatre
Cast includes:
Sally Reid, Pamela Byrne, Allan Gilmour, Annette Staines, Sheena Penson, Lawrie McNicol
Running time:
1hr 45mins

Production information displayed was believed correct at time of review. Information may change over the run of the show.

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Run sheet

King's Head, Islington London
January 24-February 15 2014