It was with loads of excitement that Sharon Bairden and I set out from Glasgow on Friday morning to make the trip to Grantown on Spey for one of my highlights of the year, The Wee Crime Fest, run by the redoubtable Marjory Marshall of the ace independent bookshop, the Bookmark.
It was one of those cold clear crisp days when the Highlands loook so beautiful and driving up was a real joy. We made a couple of stops along the way. At the halfway point, we stopped for a coffee and one of the biggest scones I have ever seen at the House of Bruar. Sharon was amazed at the size of this amazing shopping venue, home to cashmere heaven.
Duly fortified, we headed onwards to Grantown. Once we were within spitting difference, we stopped for lunch at Muchrack House, where we ate what must surely have been one of the best steak pies ever.
Then it was but a hop skip and a jump into The Square, Grantown, where we were staying for the weekend.
This year, all the main events are being held in The Pagoda, an excellent and accessible venue which worked really well, and visitors like ourselves were able to avail ourselves of a pie and Prosecco before the theatrical premiere of the season.
The first event is now something of a Wee Crime Festival tradition, the unveiling of the premiere of the new play what Douglas Skelton wrote, featuring the Carry on Sleuthing team of Caro Ramsay, Michael J. Malone, Margaret ….., Alex Gray and Neil Broadfoot. This time the cast was ably supplemented by rear ender, John Coughlan and Marjory Marshall, Street urchin no 2.
This years’s offering was the Mysterious Affair at Pyles, a farcical whodunnit. No turn was left unstoned, no pun unexploited in this rambunctious affair about the unexplained death of a proctologist, Emma Roid.
I can’t begin to tell you how good the jokes were, nor how amazing the performances of the cast turned out to be, so I won’t. What I will say is that Michael J. Malone’s accent talents were again put to sterling use, his glossy hair both flowed and glowed and Caro’s wart grows larger with every performance.
Neil Broadfoot expanded his part (oo,err missus) and Alex Gray’s bunches complemented beautifully the stand out nature of Douglas Skelton’s ears.
The audience adored it all, and even although all the clues were there, it was not easy to work out who had actually dunnit. Fortunately, we were given the answer so all was well.
Then it was off for a wee drink and a decently early night before Saturday’s slightly more serious sessions.