Tryst Theatre celebrates its 40th with a 7:84 classic

Abby Connor as Lord Polwarth with Howard Sargeant as Whitehall and Brian Paterson as Texas Jim.
Abby Connor as Lord Polwarth with Howard Sargeant as Whitehall and Brian Paterson as Texas Jim.

The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil was a trail-blazing satire about the Highland Clearances which packed theatres across the country back in the 70’s.

It’s reckoned the perfect play to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Falkirk’s Tryst Theatre next weekend.

Tryst’s 13-strong cast are joined by Falkirk Herald columnist and well-known local historian and musician Ian Scott, plus fellow musicians Peter Davie and Robin Duncan.

With biting humour and searing wit the John McGrath classic made drama icons of the 7:84 Theatre Company in its day, and still has the power to impress.

Described as “a ceilidh play”, it’s been compared to a two-hour mixed-media history lesson covering two hundred controversial years.

In what some argue iss the single most important show in the whole history of Scottish theatre, it cleverly combines drama, farce, satire, pantomime, song and dance, taking the audience from the forced emigration of rural Highlanders and the stag-hunting upper classes to the mad rush for oil in the North Sea in the 1960s.

Tryst Chairman Frank Murray said: “It’s wonderful to be celebrating our fortieth birthday with this excellent, iconic play. “After all these years Tryst is still going from strength to strength and we’re all excited to be performing in the Town Hall’s Studio Theatre this weekend.”

Director Jim Allan said: “John McGrath wanted to reach people who don’t usually go to the theatre and while it’s a passionate and serious subject, it’s done in a fun and accessible way.

“For example, we get the audience to come and join the cast on-stage for a Gay Gordons and other dances, so the idea of an exuberant ceilidh runs right through the play.”

The Cheviot, The Stag and The Black, Black Oil will be staged in Falkirk Town Hall’s Studio Theatre on Friday, Saturday and Sunday coming (October 26 to 28) at 7.30pm.

Tickets, priced £12, are available from www.ticketsource.co.uk/trysttheatre or at the door on the night.