Bonnybridge playwright to stage new Scarlet Pimpernel production

Helen Bang with some of the colourful costumes which will be worn on stage.
Helen Bang with some of the colourful costumes which will be worn on stage.

A swashbuckling semi-staged adaptation of the classic adventure story, The Scarlet Pimpernel is being brought to venues in Denny, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The Scarlet Pimpernel was the first novel in a series of historical fiction by Baroness Orczy about a chivalrous Englishman, who, with his small band of followers, rescues aristocrats before they can be killed by the violent government in revolutionary France. He is known by the symbol of a small red flower, the Anagallis arvensis, otherwise known as scarlet pimpernel.

Helen Bang

Helen Bang

The popular tale is being brought to life, with a few new twists, by award-winning Bonnybridge playwright Helen Bang.

Helen is well known on the Scottish playwright circuit, having had many short plays including Russian Roulette, Skydevil and A Little Trip performed at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow.

She also won a WOW Factor community award from Falkirk Council for Poo! The Musical, which was performed by Falkirk Youth Theatre.

The Scarlet Pimpernel’s eight-strong cast includes Margaret Gordon 2018 prize-winner Edward Soper as Sir Percy Blakeney, award-winning actress Nicole Cooper of CATS fame as Lady Blakeney and Neil John Gibson as Citizen Chauvelin.

They will be directed by the highly acclaimed Jennifer Dick, from Bard in the Botanics, Scotland’s biggest Shakespeare Festival.

Helen said: “I’ve always loved the Scarlet Pimpernel story, having first read it when I was about 12 years old. In some ways I believe it was the first of the superhero stories – it has all the elements of that which I love – a hero with a secret life rescuing innocents and a love story at the heart of it all.

“This play is something I’ve had in my head for such a long time so it’s very exciting to see it finally becoming a reality.”

Helen said there are however a few notable differences in her version of the classic tale.

“Despite being set in the French revolution, Orczy’s novels are very Edwardian in tone, the character too often is played as a camp buffoon and the effect can be rather dated. “My narrative has an optimistic, redemptive storyline and is a lot of fun and my hero is mischievous and insolent. His special power is his wit and mockery which he unleashes against his enemies with great relish.”

The production is being personally funded by Helen with additional financial assistance from sponsors, George and Daphne Burnett and local company, Lightways.

Helen is seeking further sponsorship to assist with sound and light equipment costs and anyone who can help is asked to contact her via her website.

The Scarlet Pimpernel will be shown on May 3 at Broompark Centre in Denny, on May 4 in Adelaide Hall in Glasgow and on May 5 at Assembly Roxy in Edinburgh.

To book tickets visit www.pimpernelproductions.co.uk