Appointment with the Wicker Man

Greg Hemphill and Donald McLeary

National Theatre of Scotland

Assembly Rooms

From 01 August 2012 to 26 August 2012

Rating: ***

Review by Philip Fisher

This light comedy directed by Vicky Featherstone for the National Theatre of Scotland could be regarded as a mixture of iconic horror movie, The Wicker Man, The 39 Steps (stage version) and Noises Off.

In order to get full value, a devotion to the movie version would be a big help. It is affectionately lampooned for something like 90 minutes but at the same time, the plot is followed reasonably faithfully.

The framing device is a performance by the truly laughable Loch Parry Players. They are the biggest bunch of talentless theatrical losers since Noises Off, with a similarly constituted membership

Ageing nymphomaniac, young ingénue, nutter, clueless director, cuckolded equally clueless producer plus putative father to make up the numbers have come together to create a musical homage to The Wicker Man.

Having lost its leading man, the company buys in a TV star from Glasgow played by Sean Biggerstaff, who throws in nuggets of stage wisdom amid the mayhem.

Like Edward Woodward as the copper in the original, he gets confused, frustrated, seduced and threatened with a fiery finale.

With jaunty songs and determinedly bad acting from the likes of Jimmy Chisolm, Rosalind Sidney and Johnny McKnight, Appointment with the Wicker Man relies on corny jokes and allusions to the movie for laughs but may not quite hit the spot for Wicker agnostics.