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Our Ladies: Raucous feelgood movie about Highland choirgirls to hit cinemas on Friday

The main cast of Our Ladies.
The main cast of Our Ladies.

The chaotic exploits of five Catholic choirgirls from the Highlands will hit the big screen this Friday, with the Oban-born author of the original novel saying he feels “very lucky” to have his work adapted.

Our Ladies follows a group of teenage friends from Our Lady of Perpetual Succour High School in Fort William, who travel to Edinburgh for a choir competition in 1996 and take the opportunity to try out experiences they would not get away with in their hometown.

The movie has already received rave reviews from critics, earning a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes after it premiered at the London Film Festival in 2019.

However, like many films around the world it had its release date last year pushed back repeatedly due to the pandemic, and it will land in cinemas at long last on August 27.

The resulting wait has been an anxious one for Alan Warner, the man who wrote the 1998 novel The Sopranos from which the film is adapted.

Mr Warner, who became a creative writing professor at Aberdeen University two years ago, said: “Credit needs to go to the film’s Scottish director, Michael Caton-Jones – who has made so many fine movies.

“Michael stuck to his plan of what he wanted to do, and with producer Laura Viederman, they finally made it happen.

“Alan Sharp, the great Scottish novelist and screenplay writer, worked on an early version of the adaptation – I wish he was still with us.”

The film’s Scottish credentials include a cast of young rising stars, including Aberdeen-born Abigail Lawrie and Marli Siu, who grew up in Forres.

Author to draw on experience for course

This is not the first time Mr Warner has watched his work being adapted.

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, which was also based on The Sopranos, won playwright Lee Hall the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy in 2017.

But the creation of a movie script has been a new experience, and Mr Warner is planning to draw on it when he teaches the course The Art of the Screenplay in the second half of this semester.

Mr Warner said: “It’s taken a while to get used to hearing the new title but the change was necessary to avoid confusion with TV series The Sopranos – not something I had to worry about when writing it 20 years ago.”

Oban-born novelist Alan Warner. Picture from Aberdeen University

Professor Chris Collins, who heads the School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture at Aberdeen University, said: “I picked up Alan’s book The Sopranos in a bookshop long before either of us joined the University.

“I was completely transfixed by the totally immersive way in which it inhabits the world of these young women.

“I read it in a day, living their desires, their fears, their friendships and their quarrels, and laughing out loud many times over!

“I’m very much looking forward to seeing the big screen version at long last – it will be like reencountering old friends.”

Mr Warner added: “These have been difficult times, so I hope this wee story of seizing a single day brings a smile.”

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