Local Hero, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh – captivating musical with a harder edge

New staging brings the iconic 1983 movie’s themes and characters into sharper focus.

Review by David Kettle

“Cult” is probably an over-used adjective, especially when it comes to movies. But there’s undoubtedly something truly special about Bill Forsyth’s 1983 film – about a Texan oil executive on a mission to buy up a section of the Scottish coast for a vast new refinery, only to end up falling in love with the place – that makes it so warmly cherished by certain viewers.

Maybe it’s Local Hero’s disarming mix of laid-back whimsy and harder drama, its unapologetic sentimentality, its surreal eccentricity, its gentle humour. Or maybe it’s the movie’s ironic role-reversal, as villagers grow impatient to plunder their new-found wealth while the swaggering incomer grows ever more enraptured with the place. It’s a mix that’s undoubtedly helped by Mark Knopfler’s evocative original score, whose guitar theme “Going Home” alone can transport you straight back to the ramshackle charm of Ferness and its iconic phone box.

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Local Hero at Royal Lyceum Theatre review: ‘magic of Bill Forsyth’s film conjured up on stage’

Local Hero on stage

Joyce McMillan reviews Local Hero at the Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh.

4 stars ****

A BIG SKY, a beach, a row of tiny houses along a harbour wall; and in the foreground, an old-fashioned red telephone box, glowing in the west highland dusk. Oh yes, it’s Local Hero – but this time not Bill Forsyth’s legendary 1983 film, but the brand new stage musical version, co-produced by the Old Vic in London and Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum, which celebrated its joyful, touching and – in the end – highly emotional world premier at the Lyceum this weekend. Continue reading