Review: ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’

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Braemar villagers wrote, produced and presented an excellent topical comedy play from start to finish in just 36 hours.

A number of local people attended two days of classes provided by Carole Williams, who is national drama advisor for the SCDA (Scottish Community Drama Association).

The sessions covered two festival days (Thursday and Friday, October 24 and 25), and the play born from an ideas session on the first afternoon was presented in the village hall last Friday night to rapturous acclaim.

‘Be Careful What You Wish For’ was an amusing and highly entertaining mix of cameos, audience involvement, human interest, pathos, enthusiasm and triumph, which carried a serious message about the law of unintended consequences.

Richard Baker and Shona Armstrong elicited sympathy as the hard-pressed cafe owners trying to balance the books.

Britta Kobus as the foreign tourist and Louise Kelly as the friendly visitor centre guide trying to come up with out-of-season attractions both entertained and explained the main issue; and Marilyn Baker held the plot together in a powerful dual role as a holiday planner and a committee chair.

Several actors played multiple parts and a very clever inclusion was the “planting” of cast members like Liz Robertson among the audience to act as cheer leaders when the public were invited to become part of the play.

Drama class members who could not appear in the final production -like 11-year-old Louise Middleton, from Ballater – were encouraged to take part in all manner of vital backstage and preparation tasks.

Probably the funniest moments came when Peter Holden and Fiona McCulloch – as management consultants from the big city – succeeded in convincing residents to centre their tourism attractions on a long lost map belonging to Robert Louis Stevenson.

Fast forward a few years and Braemar has a super-highway, a railway station, and more tourists than it can cope with searching for treasure which only ever existed in the enthusiastic predictions of the consultants who have long-since trousered their fat fee and disappeared south.

John Macpherson provided practical and technical expertise.