Feb 17 2012 by Alison Anderson, Perthshire Advertiser Friday
SOME 27 years ago, three-year-old Perth girl Sally Reid became stage-struck when she appeared at Perth Theatre in a dancing display.
Fast forward to tonight when Sally shares the macrobert stage in Stirling with some of Scotland’s best-known acting talent in a preview performance of the National Theatre of Scotland’s highly-anticipated ‘An Appointment with The Wicker Man’.
Co-written and starring Greg Hemphill of BBC Still Game and Chewin’ the Fat fame, this production based on the 1970s cult motion picture ‘The Wicker Man’, previews tonight and tomorrow at the macrobert before heading off on tour.
Speaking during the final rehearsal process, Perth-born and raised Sally said she was relishing the part of an am-dram drama queen, and the challenge of playing comedy in a large stage production.
The stage fever of the three-year-old dancer never abated and after attending St Ninian’s Primary School and Perth High, Sally’s resolve to become a professional actress took her to Langside College in Glasgow and with the Steppenwolf Theatre Company and the Second City Training Center in Chicago.
Since graduating almost 10 years ago she’s been fortunate to enjoy a busy career, including National Theatre of Scotland’s Miracle Man and Empty, but she keeps her feet on the ground – unlike her stage character, Marie.
Without giving too much away, Sally explained that ‘An Appointment with The Wicker Man’ is set on a remote Scottish island where amateur theatre company the Loch Parry Players are rehearsing a stage version of The Wicker Man.
“Marie is a member of the company and she is all about the drama. She fantasises about being a film star, and soaks up the dramatic storyline of The Wicker Man and runs with it!,” said Sally.
“She sees drama and romance in everything in proper old Hollywood style.
“And she goes on quite a journey in the play, from being a by-stander to being completely involved in it!
“I’m used to playing teenagers, which is great because they are so vibrant and fun, but I’m really enjoying getting my teeth into a character who is my age. I’ve just turned 30, and in ‘An Appointment with The Wicker Man’ Marie goes from her 20s into her 30s.”
Sally explained that each member of the ‘An Appointment with The Wicker Man’ cast has had the chance to develop their character in the weeks leading to opening night: “During rehearsals it’s been fantastic to have the writers in the room which made it a very interesting way of working.
“We could change things on the floor making it a very organic and collaborative process. It’s challenging too – comedy looks easy, but it’s very skilful.”
National Theatre of Scotland artistic director and chief executive Vicky Featherstone directs the talented cast who, alongside Sally and Greg Hemphill are Paul Riley, Sean Biggerstaff, Jimmy Chisholm Johnny McKnight and Rosalind Sydney.
The publicity blurb describes ‘An Appointment with The Wicker Man’ as “an all-singing-and-dancing love letter to a unique and timeless cult masterpiece.”
Yet Sally gave the assurance that theatre-goers do not need to have seen The Wicker Man film before booking their seats for this interesting-sounding National Theatre of Scotland production, which, after its macrobert previews, tours to His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen, next week then to the Theatre Royal, Glasgow; Eden Court, Inverness; and The Alhambra, Dunfermline.