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Whisky Galore: a musical!

by Compton Mackenzie, adapted by Shona McKee McNeil and Ian Hammond Brown


"McNeil and Brown have created a new Scottish musical to celebrate ... well worth the wait."
Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman
"We had a fantastic week with full houses, and without exception all reviews were great."
Valerie Thomson, Markinch AOS
Musical Comedy: 'Whisky Galore: a musical' by Shona McKee McNeil & Ian Hammond Brown
Note: In the Pitlochry Festival Theatre productions a small cast of actor musicians was used.
In the Amateur version, a pit band and a chorus have been added.


“How can we fight the bloody Germans, when we don’t have any bloody whisky?”

Musical Comedy: 'Whisky Galore: a musical' by Shona McKee McNeil & Ian Hammond BrownIt's 1943 and the curse of rationing has visited the remote Hebridean islands of Little Todday and Great Todday to the extent that the thirsty islanders have all but run out of uisge beatha - the water of life.

And it’s not just the whisky drought that's causing problems, either. Good Catholic girl Peggy Macroon has fallen for one of the soldiers stationed on the islands: Sergeant Odd, who’s not just English, but Protestant to boot! Catriona MacLeod is having trouble prising meek schoolmaster George Campbell away from his Wee Free dragon of a mother. And the dragon herself seems too much in sympathy with the army authorities for some people's liking…

When a cargo ship, the SS Cabinet Minister, runs aground with fifty thousand cases of whisky aboard, the islanders rush to take advantage of the unexpected bounty. But then the officious Captain Waggett, the English officer commanding the Home Guard (who sees his main duty is to control the islanders in a style reminiscent of Captain Mainwaring), learns of the illicit salvage operation – and is ordered to confiscate the liquor!

Musical Comedy: 'Whisky Galore: a musical' by Shona McKee McNeil & Ian Hammond BrownThe islanders are lead by the Catholic Joseph Macroon, who owns the local shop and post office, but who would like to have his fingers in even more pies. His foil is the Protestant Roderick Macrurie who owns the Snorvig Hotel and has to implement rations all round as the alcohol slowly dries up. Characters such as Willie Munro, the only Protestant on Little Todday, Jockey Stewart, and the poet Duncan Macroon ensure colour and adventure as they bring various escapades to life from the original text.

In the first act, the audience thoroughly enjoys the build up to, and the arrival of, the cargo of whisky on the stricken ship, and then the second act is devoted to the drinking of it, the hiding of it, and the disposal of it.

Musical Comedy: 'Whisky Galore: a musical' by Shona McKee McNeil & Ian Hammond BrownThe musical is based on Compton MacKenzie’s funny, romantic and hugely entertaining novel of the same name that was made into a memorable film in 1949. Both the film and the novel are based on the real-life 1941 shipwreck of the SS Politician near the island of Eriskay, but in the film the two islands were merged into the single island of Todday and some religious issues were left out. Working from the original novel, with permission from the Society of Authors who manage the copyright of Compton Mackenzie's works, the adaptors, Shona and Ian, have brought those two aspects of the book back to life: the different religions, and the two Todday islands - the Catholic Little Todday and the Protestant Great Todday. This aspect provides interesting light and shade to the machinations and manoeuvering that take place between the various 'warring factions'.

The musical has a score that conjures up both the 1940s and the unmistakable sounds of the Western Isles, and ends with the poet Duncan Macroon and the Sergeant’s mother, Mrs Odd, toasting the beautiful islands with uisge beathe, as the sun sets. All is well in heaven and on earth and the audience is left with the feeling that they may just have caught a glimpse of the soul of the Outer Hebrides.


Principals (7m, 3f)
  Sergeant Major Alfred Odd - C of E, a soldier, in love with Peggy, has been away for two years fighting the war in Africa and Asia.
  Peggy Macroon - Catholic; daughter of Joseph Macroon, Duncan’s cousin, helps run the Post Office and shop, in love with Sergeant Odd.
  George Campbell - Protestant; son of Mrs Campbell who dominates him, teaches at Garryboo school, a fine tenor, in love with Catriona Macleod.
  Catriona Macleod - Protestant; best cook on the islands, in love with George Campbell.
  Mrs Campbell - Protestant; a widow, George Campbell’s mother, a dragon in the community, originally from Mull.
  Captain Waggett - C of E; in charge of the Home Guard on the islands, married to Dolly, no children, retired stockbroker from London.
  Joseph Macroon - Catholic; owner of the local Post Office and shop, Peggy’s father.
  Father Macalister - Catholic Priest, joins in the islanders’ adventures with great gusto.
  Roderick MacRurie - Protestant; landlord of the Snorvig Hotel.
  Duncan Macroon - Catholic; crofter, a poet, Peggy’s cousin, he finds the crock with Jockey.
Support (5m, 6f  plus chorus)
  Jockey Stewart - Catholic; husband to Bean.
  Willie Munro - the only Protestant resident on Little Todday.
  Dolly Waggett - English, demure, obedient, longsuffering wife, C of E (Actress should be able to tap dance)
  Tweed Merchant - Lieutenant Brown, Army Intelligence in disguise.  (Doubles with Rev Morrison).
  Reverend Morrison - the Protestant minister  (Doubles with Tweed Merchant).
  Mrs Odd - English, Sergeant Odd’s lively 70 year old mother, runs a shop in Nottingham.
  Bean Stewart - Catholic; wife to Jockey.
  Captain MacKechnie - Captain of the Island Queen. Religion not specified. (Doubles with Tom Ferguson).
  Tom Ferguson - the local Exciseman (Doubles with Captain MacKechnie).
  Robbie Baird- Glaswegian sailor on the SS Cabinet Minister  (Triples with Corporal Ruskin and Capt MacPhee)
  Captain MacPhee – Catholic; a 90 year old patriarch, likes his drink. (Triples with Corporal Ruskin and Robbie Baird).
  Corporal Ruskin – accompanies the Exciseman. (Triples with Capt MacPhee and Robbie Baird)
  Chorus of Protestant and and Catholic islanders


  1) Home Company
  2) Old Man of the Sea Peggy, Catriona & Female Chorus
  3) Work, Whisky and the Good Lord Above Father Macalister & Men, Waggett & Dolly
  4) I’m Your Mother Mrs Campbell & George
  5) The One In My Heart Sergeant & Peggy, George & Catriona
  6) Marching In Rhythm Waggett & Men, 3 x Girls, Dolly, Female Chorus
  7) New Girl, Old Girl Peggy & Catriona
  8) Heavenly Star of the Sea Duncan, Jockey & Male Chorus
  9) Crock of Gold Duncan, Jockey, Father, George, Catriona, Joseph, Waggett & Chorus
10) Paraffin, Peat & Peer Joseph, Duncan & Male Chorus (with Willie, Father & George)
11) Ralph the Rover Duncan, Willie, Joseph, Roderick, Father, Capt MacKenzie
~~ Interval ~~  
12) Entr’acte Orchestra
13) Whisky Galore Joseph, Willie, Father, Roderick, Duncan, George & Chorus
14) Marching in Rhythm (Reprise) Male Chorus
15) Somewhere Inside George & Catriona
16) Hurry Father, Joseph, Willie, Duncan & Male Chorus
17) George & The Dragon George & Mrs Campbell, Chorus
18) Wait! (and Reprise of Wait!) Waggett
19) If Women Were In Charge Dolly, Catriona, Mrs Campbell & Female Chorus
20) Pouring Away the Whisky Peggy & Catriona
21) A New Beginning Peggy, Catriona, Sergeant & George
22) Home (Reprise) / Island Theme Duncan, Joseph & Chorus (with female soloist)
23) Walk Down & Calls Orchestra
24) Finale Ultimo Company
25) Playout Orchestra

Information for Production Administrators

Here's a list of all the supporting material available and some other information you might need. Pricing for the production materials is supplied automatically with a Perusal Set. Royalty pricing can only be provided as a formal quotation.

Available now (see below) ...
Perusal Set
These are available to bona-fide producing organisations only to request free of charge. The set contains ...
  • Libretto
  • Piano/Vocal Score
  • Cast Recording 
  • Pitlochry Festival Theatre Performance Video
Available after Perusal ...
Libretti/Vocal Scores

Available to purchase in this form ...

  • Rehearsal Master Set on a Data CD (Cast). This contains the script and piano vocal score for your cast and crew provided as A4 pdf files. No problem about possible loss of deposit on sets of rented books, as they are yours to print out and mark up as required. The price includes a multiple copying licence allowing you to copy the Data CD itself (enabling you to give or sell copies to your cast for them to make up their own rehearsal books) or to make multiple prints of the pdf's on the Data CD for your production company to organise and provide to your cast or crew.

To order this, create an account with us, then go to the 'Order Rehearsal Material' page

Please note that we do not sell printed copies of libretti, nor do we hire sets of printed rehearsal libretti or scores.

Available after Rights Obtained ...
Backing Tracks
Not available.
These are available for an 10 piece orchestra as below, for hire to production companies only, who hold a valid, unexpired, licence to perform.
  • MD / Keyboard 1
  • Accordian / Keyboard 2
  • Fiddle
  • Double Bass
  • Guitar
  • Reeds 1 (Alto Sax, Tenor Recorder, Flute, Penny Whistle)
  • Reeds 2 (Bb Clarinet, Tenor Sax)
  • Trumpet
  • Trombone
  • Percussion
Royalty Type
Royalties for this title are 'variable fee, post paid', and will be calculated on a percentage of your box office income once your production has finished. See our pricing policy for details. We work on a quotation system for royalties, based on information you supply to us. Complete a printed application form or create account with us, and use the online version.

Video Licence

Regrettably we are unable to provide a licence to record 'Whisky Galore'. This is due to the strict rules imposed by Canal Plus, the current video rights-holders of the 1949 film.

You, as the Producing Organisation, and all members of your cast and crew, MUST NOT MAKE
any form of audio recording or video recording of rehearsals or performances of 'Whisky Galore: a musical'
irrespective of whether the intended use is for archival or sentimental reasons, or for training purposes.

Order your free preview script or perusal material now ...

  • Perusal Set on USB ('Whisky Galore')
    £0.00 Perusal Set on USB ('Whisky Galore')
    PLEASE NOTE : We operate a FREE Perusal Service, and for this title we supply a USB stick with pdf/mp3/mp4 files of the perusal material. Customers requesting this MUST be a representative of a production company, school,...
  • Royalty Quotation Form (FL)
    Royalty Quotation Form (FL)
    The rights to perform and record for all the titles in our catalogue are managed by Stagescripts Ltd. You should not assume that a licence to perform will always be granted. Please request a quotation at the earliest...
  • Rehearsal Master Set
    £0.00 Rehearsal Master Set
    Rehearsal Master Sets (RMS) are available to purchase, once your production has been licensed. You will need the 5 digit licence reference number (see above). They are available as a Dropbox download or on a USB Stick. If...
  • Orchestrations ('Whisky Galore')
    £105.99 Orchestrations ('Whisky Galore')
    A set of Orchestrations (aka Band Parts) for your MD and orchestra, or pit band provided as A4 size pdf files on a USB Stick (or by Dropbox link). The 10 parts provided are:- MD's Full Score (Act One & Act Two...