ALIEN abduction comedy "From These Parts" might not have the budget of a Hollywood sci-fi blockbuster, but it has secured some Hollywood expertise.
Written and produced by the Right Lines duo of Euan Martin and Dave Smith — the team behind such Scottish stage hits as "Accidental Death of an Accordionist", "Illicit", "Whisky Kisses" and "Who Bares Wins" — the new show is a fast moving four-hander comedy that examines the issue of migration to and from the Highlands on local, national and even intergalactic levels.
It asks why people stay or go, and what does it mean to be a local?
The show brings back some familiar names to work with Right Lines, but also marks Martin and Smith’s first collaboration with two north artists.
Helping create the set is Tain artist Mike Taylor, whose work ranges from the most detailed trompe l’oeil creating the illusion of three dimensions to full-scale murals on the side of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior.
Through connections in the Moray Arts community, Martin was also able to recruit Michael Start from The House of Automata in Kinloss. Stuart is a world expert on clockwork and Automata and was the expert advisor to Martin Scorsese on the recent Oscar-winning Hollywood movie "Hugo".
"As the main character in our play is building an Intergalactic Communicator, I thought Michael would be the ideal person to help us design and build this essential centre-piece to our production," Martin explained.
"Despite a very busy schedule, including a major contribution to the Daniel Radcliffe film ‘The Woman in Black’ and appearances at the Brit Awards and on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ with his flea circus, Michael agreed to work with us.
"Having an advisor to an Oscar-winning movie is a fantastic addition to our creative team — as well as a great career move for Michael, obviously!"
Directed by Ian Grieve, the play stars Ron Emslie, Vari Sylvester, Helen Mackay and Ewan Donald and begins an two week tour of the Highlands, Aberdeenshire, Moray and the Islands tomorrow in Portmahomack.
Following a one-off UFO experience, Jack has been pursuing his passion for all things extraterrestrial for years.
He has joined an online community of fellow enthusiasts and they have given him the task of building an Intergalactic Communicator to establish Contact. Only his day job as a garage mechanic in a remote Highland village and the influence of his level-headed daughter Mhairi have prevented him from spending all his time reaching out to commune with life beyond the stars.
Mhairi has kept the business going — just — but now the planets are perfectly aligned and the day of the Big Test is approaching...
Into Jack’s world step Felicity, who has moved to the area to escape a marriage and establish a Healing Centre, and her city-slicker son Darren who plans to stay only long enough to drop his mother off before.
However, his expensive car breaks down outside the garage at exactly the same time as Jack realises the long-awaited final component for his communicator device does not fit. He needs to find a replacement part quickly to finish his machine. Where on earth can he find it?
And what are those strange lights in the night sky?
"We are very fortunate to have the services of Ron Emslie once again," Martin said.
"He has worked with Right Lines on several shows including ‘Who Bares Wins’, ‘Watching Bluebottles’ and ‘Whisky Kisses’.
"In fact, it was through ‘Whisky Kisses’ that director Ian Grieve met Ron and promptly cast him in the lead role of Willy Loman in the highly-acclaimed Perth Theatre production of ‘Death of a Salesman’ in 2011."
Vari Sylvester and Ewan Donald also appeared in "Death of a Salesman" and this is the first time they have all been reunited with Ian Grieve since then.
Helen Mackay from Caithness completes the cast. Mackay also worked with Right Lines previously in "The Accidental Death of an Accordionist" and alongside Ron Emslie in the online radio comedy Morrison’s Van which is still available to download on the Northings website.
From These Parts is funded by the Northern Scottish Touring Fund and will tour to venues across the Highlands & Islands and North-East of Scotland in June 2012.
• "From These Parts" by Euan Martin and Dave Smith can be seen at Carnegie Hall, Portmahomack on Saturday 16th June, at 8pm; Lonach Hall, Strathhdon on Tuesday 19th June at 7.30pm; New Pitsligo Public Hall near Fraserburgh on Wednesday 20th June at 7.30pm; Finzean Hall near Banchory on Thursday 21st June at 7.30pm; Deskford Community Centre near Buckie on Friday 22nd June at 7.30pm; Cumming Hall, Kinloss on Saturday 23rd June at 7pm and 9pm; Gairloch Village Hall on Tuesday 26th June at 7.30pm; Sabhal Mor Ostaig on Skye on Friday 29th June at 8pm. The tour finishes the following weekend with shows on Barra and Benbecula.