Curtain rises as Oor Wullie takes to the stage

As a twenty-something lassie fae Dundee, there are a couple of things I’m sure of.

You’re generally considered posh if you stay in the Ferry (Broughty Ferry), if you’re meeting anyone in the town – be it friend, granny, or probably even a Tinder date now- you’ll meet outside Boots at the Overgate shopping centre.

Another thing that almost all locals will know is that The Dundee Rep’s Christmas show is the biggest and most popular show in town.

Heading to the Rep during the festive season is a tradition not just among my own family but for folks throughout the City of Discovery.

This year’s show – Oor Wullie – had us wondering what we were in store for.

First printed in a comic strip in 1936, Oor Wullie is a bona fide institution in Scotland and with his cheeky chappy ways teamed with a big heart, it’s easy to see why he’s the country’s favourite son.

Adapted for the stage by Scott Gilmour and Claire McKenzie, the story begins with Greenock born youngster Wahid (Eklovey Kashyap) whose Pakistani heritage and subsequent playground taunts leave him feeling like an outsider; not quite Scottish but not fully Pakistani either.

Enter Librarian Dudley (George Drennan) who introduces Wahid to the Oor Wullie annual which, while proving initially tricky to read because of the ‘made up Scots language’, is in fact magical and 10-year-old Wullie (Martin Quinn) is transported from the world of Auchenshoogle to the real (and Wahid’s) world.

The storyline is a refreshing tonic in these times of continuing division as Wahid and Wullie form a friendship and open their minds to aspects of their different cultures. The scene where Wullie and his gang are dressed up in saris to evade being spotted was a particular favourite of mine.

Ann Louise Ross is perfect as the grumpy but eventual good guy PC Murdoch while Soapy Soutar (Bailey Newsome), Bob (Dan Buckley) and Wee Eck (Grant McIntyre) make up a hilarious trio armed with plenty of verbal and physical gags that make them a joy to watch.

Quinn is perfect in his role and and plays a very convincing and lovable Wullie with great comic timing and stage presence.

Baddie Basher Mackenzie (Leanne Traynor) does well to act as the bullish villain with a musical number might have just been my favourite of the bunch.

The musical numbers are fun and uplifting with all lending themselves to a moral lesson. The set was simple but effective with lighting and effects successfully transporting you from one dimension to another.

The overall message of the show is one of acceptance and kindness, and a call to action for all of us to celebrate our differences together.

Taking the risk to host a brand new show at Christmas time is bold but in terms of this production, it has most certainly paid off.

I left the theatre feeling uplifted, entertained and happy that no matter what, this Christmas tradition continues to survive.

Oor Wullie runs until 5 January. Tickets are available HERE.