Brett Herriot Review

The Steamie, The Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh Review:

Has True Heart and Stellar Performances

**** 4 Stars

For Thirty Five years, Tony Roper’s master piece “The Steamie” has stood the test of time and found its place in generations of Scottish audience’s affections, for its fine blend of humour, laughter and touching heart rendering pathos. 

This play with songs by David Anderson has transcended popular culture thanks in part to the 1987 Scottish Television production and the numerous professional productions that have toured over the years. It’s also a cherished favourite for Am Dram Companies.

Now following the critical success of 2022 “Sunshine on Leith” producers, David Ross and Tommie Travers in collaboration with The Brunton Company return to the Brunton Theatre with a brand new production and its show with genuine heart and love at its core.

Set on Hogmanay of 1950 in the Carnegie Street Steamie in central Glasgow, Four women come together to carry out the final washing of the year and while the wash the clothes they also put life through the ringer as hopes and dreams are explored and the reality of their lives is accepted and all of it done with smile and laugh never far away.

The Steamie is tight five hander and this production boasts a superb cast with Caroline Hood delivering a pithy but true “Magrit”, the sublime Norma Kinnear as the warm hearted and hilarious “Dolly”, Melissa McNaught brings innocence and truth to “Doreen”, Sarah Lindsay’s “Mrs Culfeathers” is everything and more. They are joined by Gary McGregor who turns in a fine comic performance as “Andy”.

Director David Ross truly understands his source material and has brought together a tight knit company who radiate warmth across the footlights as the audience revel in the comedy. The only minor things to be said is the cast accents place this Steamie firmly in Edinburgh and while the Glasgow references come thick and fast hearing the Edinburgh accents gives a slight sense of jarring. Also with such a comedy heavy play the cast need to embrace the audience laughter,  enjoy it for a moment then move on. On a couple of occasions lines were lost as the cast moved to quickly on while the audience roared.

Musical Director Tommie Travers, delivers the goods with all David Anderson’s witty songs in place, and in a rare treat “Magrit’s” wonderful “to be a woman” is delivered in its musical form and not the monologue as used in the TV version. This production includes excellent underscore and musical choices and adds real value to overall result.

A faithful Steamie set is lit beautifully with an understated touch by Craig Dixon and a crisp sound design by Cameron Watson adds quality. Lesley O’Briens costume design evokes the 50s with ease and the technical elements combine to add a professional finish to the overall production.

Everyone connected with this production should be justly proud, a complete sell out run before the curtain rose on the opening night and this Steamie that has true heart, stellar performances and most importantly a script where the mere mention of “Galloway’s Mince” brings a joyful recognition.

If you can get a return ticket snap it up and take a dander doon the Steamie in this fine fine production from Ross, Travers and the Brunton.

The Steamie, The Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, Runs until Saturday 28th January 2023 SOLD OUT for return tickets go to: Information about Show: The Steamie: Website (


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