I’m really glad to be able to bring Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour to Live Theatre. It’s a project I’ve been working on for almost a decade. I read the book (The Sopranos, by Alan Warner) when it came out 18 years ago and instantly knew it would make a great play. It was written at almost exactly the same time I wrote Cooking With Elvis and I instantly saw the potential – it’s fabulously rude, has the chance to use some great music, but again it was about ordinary working class people full of life and humour – all the things my work at Live Theatre has been about.
It took several years to get the rights and I was lucky enough to enthuse Vicky Featherstone (who set up the National Theatre of Scotland) to direct. So it made sense to make this a Live Theatre and National Theatre of Scotland co-production.
I’ve been in Glasgow all summer making the show – which is a cross between a musical, a gig and a play. It’s got some outrageous moments, some hilarious gags (taken from the novel) and we’ve added all sorts of music. There’s everything from Judie Tzuke to Handel and Bach but the spine of the show is the girls own versions of the Best of ELO. Jeff Lynne from ELO gave us exclusive permission to use his back catalogue in the show – which I think works brilliantly.
The 50 odd parts in the show are played by a cast of six young actresses from Scotland who happen to be incredible singers and their versions of the songs have had standing ovations in Edinburgh. It’s all topped off with a shit hot band.
There’s nothing pretentious about the show, the cast (who won The Stage’s Best Ensemble Award out of more than 3,000 shows), are breathtakingly talented and there are loads of sad bits as well. It’s one of my favourite novels and I am really proud of the production.
By Lee Hall
‘This rude, hilarious yet touching play pulls off its conceits with a foul-mouthed, finely tuned flourish.’
★★★★★ The Times
‘a feelgood musical play that is zippingly entertaining yet achingly human – and funny with it all the way.’
★★★★★ The Stage
‘sheer energy and brilliance’
★★★★★ The Scotsman