Prepare to say Hello to Maureen once again

Maureen Gillie returning to the lead role in Eyemouth Variety Hello Dolly after taking centre stage in 1993
Maureen Gillie returning to the lead role in Eyemouth Variety Hello Dolly after taking centre stage in 1993

Eyemouth Variety Group are revisiting an old favourite next week when they bring ‘Hello Dolly’ to the stage and there’s a familiar face in the title role.

Turn the clock back 21 years ago to a time when Meatloaf would do anything for love at the top of the charts, ‘Jurassic Park’ took a bite out of its competition at the box office and nerves were jangling in a certain Berwickshire town as a group of thespians were getting ready to stage their first ever musical.

Up until 1993, Eyemouth Variety Group had only ever performed pantomimes but overwhelmed by the talent in her grasp, producer Pauline Grieve wanted to broaden her horizons and looked to Broadway and the West End for inspiration.

She found it in American showstopper ‘Hello Dolly’ and her search for a leading lady led her to local lass Maureen Gillie.

The production was a roaring success, capturing the attention of the town.

As they say the rest is history but history does have a habit of repeating itself.

And it definitely has in Eyemouth as last autumn Maureen beat off other hopefuls to land the starring role of the meddling socialite once again.

But she did admit she had a few doubts about whether she would even go for the role again.

“I did take quite a bit of convincing,” she told ‘WOW’.

“I have to admit when I first found out we were doing ‘Hello Dolly’ I had someone completely different in mind for the role.

“It was Pauline who persuaded me to audition for it and in the end I thought ‘why not’ and gave it my best shot. I didn’t think I’d get the part though.”

Once cast as Dolly, Maureen had to get to grips with the dialogue and songs that had given her a few sleepless night back in the 90s.

“A few people in the cast said to me ‘oh it’ll be easy peasy’ you know it already but I asked them if they could remember songs and lines from five years ago let alone 21!

“It has been a lot of hard work once again but I do love Dolly.

“She’s very feisty and has a lot of good one liners.

“Pauline has really brought out her humorous side.”

Maureen attributes her on stage experience since 1993 in guises such as Mother Abbess in ‘The Sound of Music’ and the Duchess in ‘Me & My Girl’ to being able to handle her leading lady status better this time round.

“I think we were all a bit naïve in 1993; we didn’t really know what doing a musical entailed but we bluffed and blustered through and people loved it.

“I definitely think the fact I’ve been in many shows since then has helped me. I feel a can put a lot more of me into the role.

And Pauline said a woman of Maureen’s experience and ability was the perfect fit for Dolly.

“She is a true actress and can turn her hand to anything.

“We’re facing a different kind of pressure this time.

“Back then we flew by the seat of our pants and people weren’t sure we’d be able to pull off a musical but now the expectation is there.

“Every one of our shows has to be just as good or better than the last. We have an obligation to maintain our high standard.”

There’s just a week to go before the ‘Hello Dolly’ cast entertain audiences at the old Eyemouth High School with the likes of ‘Put On Your Sunday Clothes’, ‘It Only Takes A Moment’ and ‘Before The Parade Passes By’.

The show starts at 7.30pm.