Author ‘punch’ drunk over debut stage production

Tobermory Clock takes centre stage in Colin MacIntyre's new play.

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Mull songwriter and author Colin MacIntyre saw his first play take to the stage on Monday night when it premiered at Glasgow’s Oran Mor.

The Origins of Ivor Punch is based on the Mull Historical Society musician’s Edinburgh International First Book Award-winning novel, The Letters of Ivor Punch, and stars Tom McGovern, Andrew John Tait and Eva Traynor. The play is directed by Stuart Hepburn.

Set in the present day and in the 1860’s on a remote Scottish island (based on the isle of Mull), it is about mythology and how it washes up against faith. Tragedy and superstition hang over the characters like a mist as we meet the funny and irrepressible Sergeant Ivor Punch, and his friend Randy.

Only by discovering the truth about Ivor’s origins do we learn why the words ‘GOD IS LOVE’ have appeared painted on a cliff face, why his forbear is a Headless Horseman doing battle with a visiting Charles Darwin, and how the pioneering Victorian travel writer, Isabella Bird, and her sister, Henrietta, link the past to the present. The island is about to give up its secrets.

Speaking to The Oban Times this week, MacIntyre said: ‘I was up for the opening yesterday at Oran Mor. It was a new experience to be in the audience for something I’ve created and not be sweating up on stage! It got a really nice audience reaction and I couldn’t be happier with it.

‘It was quite overwhelming to see it on stage. Tobermory Main Street with the clock, dedicated to Henrietta Bird, is front and centre stage. I seem to have started an urban myth that Darwin did, in fact, officially open Tob Clock. I’m keen to bring it to Mull Theatre, too, along the way.

‘The Oban Times is the script a couple of times. The actors and director, Stuart Hepburn, did an amazing job.’

The play runs at Oran Mor until May 4, when it moves to Edinburgh’s Traverse (May 7-11).