Ayr Gaiety celebrates 30 years of The Steamie

The cast of The Steamie.
The cast of The Steamie.

Coming to Ayr Gaiety on 25 September a new production of The Steamie will celebrate 30 years of entertaining audience across Scotland.

The 30th Anniversary touring cast brings together Mary McCusker (reprising her role as Mrs Culfeathers from the 2012 production), Steven McNicoll (wrote and starred in seven series of the BAFTA Nominated BBC sketch show Velvet Soup), Libby McArthur (Gina Rossi in River City), Carmen Pieraccini (Kelly-Marie Adams in River City) and Fiona Wood (also reprising her role as Doreen from the 2012 production).

The Steamie is a Scottish theatre classic; an ode to the hard working women of the 1950’s and to a bygone Glasgow. The young Doreen envisions a new future, while Mrs Culfeathers looks back to the past - the play is a snapshot of a society, of a time and a cross section of strong women, all rolled up in Roper’s hilarious comedy. As The Scotsman said in 2012, it is a “wonderful pattern of humour, pathos, and laugh-out-loud comic set-pieces.”

The play is written by Tony Roper and produced by Neil Laidlaw, both alumni of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Libby McArthur who plays Dolly is a well-known face having appeared in many popular Scottish television programmes. She is most famous for her role as Gina Hamilton in River City. In her time, she has had more than one Session with John Peel; ridden The Tube with Jools Holland and been usurped in her role as mother to her son by Liam Neeson and Jessica Lang in Rob-Roy. On television she has played wife to Ford Keirnan; daughter to Miriam Margoyles, Annie Ross and Johnny Beattie; sister to Andy Gray, Forbes Masson, and Bobby Carlyle and has even been taken advantage of by Stefan Dennis.

Mary McCusker is back reprising the role she loves from the 2012 production of the show, Mrs Culfeathers. She is best known for her work in films Turner & Hooch, The Client and Up. Her theatre credits include appearing in Miss Firecracker Contest, Al Franken & Tom Davis Show, Art of Self Defence and Twenty- Four Hours. In the 1990’s she switched from acting to coaching.

Steven McNicoll who stars as Andy wrote and starred in seven series of the BBC sketch show Velvet Soup on radio and later television, which earned him a BAFTA nomination. He is also known to viewers for playing the young Rab C Nesbitt in the series of the same name and appears regularly as Bra’s Jeff in Donald McLeary and Sanjeev Kohli’s Sony Award winning BBC Radio 4 sitcom Fags, Mags and Bags.

Carmen Pieraccini plays Magrit. She appeared briefly in the Gillies MacKinnon film Small Faces, the Saul Metzstein’s film Late Night Shopping, and the music video for the Belle and Sebastian single Jonathan David, before appearing in River City. She played Tina in the comedy series Dear Green Place, opposite Ford Kiernan. On stage, she appeared as an army private in the 2008 play An Advert for the Army.

Fiona Wood could not get enough of The Steamie and has returned to the show as Doreen, after appearing in the 2012 production. She is best known for her roles in films Money Kills, Sketchland and has just wrapped up filming short film, The Last Supper.

This is the third time Neil Laidlaw has produced a tour of The Steamie, first in 2009 and then the 25th Anniversary Tour in 2012. Neil said “The Steamie is one of the greatest Scottish plays – I am extremely proud to have had the opportunity to have been associated with it in the past and am now even more excited to be producing this 30th Anniversary celebration. We’ve brought together a fantastic cast of actors combining Mary McCusker reprising her wonderful portrayal of Mrs Culfeathers and Fiona Wood’s Doreen, with fresh faces down The Steamie with Libby McArthur, Stephen McNicoll and Carmen Pieraccini. I can’t wait to get into the rehearsal room and see another cast have a ball getting to know this play.”

Tony Roper (Scottish actor, comedian, writer, playwright and director) said: “In my late forties I sat down with a biro and a jotter and wrote my first ever play. 30 years have since passed and The Steamie is still there, giving laughter and tears and touching that intangible something in an audience that has made it a favourite night out.”