Out of the gate for the last time for Hairy Maclary’s friends

Matthew Brown and Simon Beattie
Matthew Brown and Simon Beattie

It’s the end of an amazing ‘tail’ and there may well be a few tears when the hit children’s play Hairy Maclary and Friends stages its final UK performance – here in Falkirk.

But it’s an appropriate place to end the show for its writer, Simon Beattie, and composer Matthew Brown who both live locally.

Alongwith director Bruce Strachan, they have seen it grow from a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2007 to tours across the world.

Their company Nonsense Rooms Productions has taken Hairy Maclary and Bottomley Potts, Hercules Morse and co, of course, as far afield as Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong.

For Simon, the show’s six-week run in Sydney Opera House was an incredible highlight.

“It was really something to be on the other side of the world because of a show I’d written,” he remembers.

Simon, who lives in Polmont, came up with the idea for the show after reading the much-loved books by Lynley Dodd to his daughters, April and Violet, who were four and five at the time.

It’s a special memory and he can’t fail to be reminded of how young his daughters were every time he sees the show – it’s his eldest daughter’s voice you hear at the start of every performance.

“It’s still nice to hear that every so often,” says Simon.

“It’s going to be a bit of a strange experience on November 5 – it’s been part of our lives for so long. But it’s time for us as a company to move on and do other things.”

The success of the show has led to the company specialising in children’s shows.

“Hairy Maclary is full of songs and music and there’s lots of audience interaction, so we’ve used that in other shows,” said Simon.

“The reaction of the audience is fantastic. The thing is when kids are laughing, you know its genuine reaction.

“It’s nice to know that something you’ve done brings joy to the kids for an hour. I think we’ll all be sad to see it finish.”

Nonsense Room Productions is now working on its Christmas show, Red Riding Hood and Shark in the Park, which will both be performed in Edinburgh.

The final UK performance of Hairy Maclary and Friends will be in FTH on Sunday, November 5.

To buy tickets, call the box office on 01324 506850.