Brolly good show for Ellon’s Rhona

Rhona (holding the umbrella) with (from left) Alasdair, Stephanie and Chris.
Rhona (holding the umbrella) with (from left) Alasdair, Stephanie and Chris.

THE team behind the latest Student Show “Mary Torphins” – a parody of the much-loved Disney classic Mary Poppins – recently spent their weekend auditioning.

After putting almost 50 talented students through their singing, dancing and acting paces, the top role has gone to 21-year-old final-year music student Rhona Johnston from Ellon.

The part as the umbrella flying, spoonful-of-sugar-dosing nanny will be her swansong, for this year’s show - at His Majesty’s Theatre from April 18 to 21 - will be her fourth and final student show, as well as her biggest role to date.

Rhona, who is a former pupil at Ellon Primary and Ellon Academy told the Herald and Times, “It’s really good, being able to speak Doric is a bonus. She’s meant to have the appearance of Mary Poppins, elegant and graceful, until she opens her mouth – then she’s common as muck.”

This is the first time a Disney spoof has been attempted by the Student Show, so finding the right person for Mary was crucial. “We really wanted someone that would look and behave like Julie Andrews’ portrayal of Mary, a character that people have grown up with – that is until she opens her mouth and speaks Doric!” explained Ryan Peacock, a former leading man in previous productions and now a drama teacher at Aberdeen Grammar School..

Performing seems to run in the family however, as Rhona’s elder sister Elaine Clark played the title role when she appeared as Butch Cassie-End in Butch Cassie-End and The SunnyBank Kid in 2000.

In the weeks to come before the show opens on Wednesday, April 18, Rhona will be juggling finishing her dissertation with learning lines and practising how to fly by umbrella.

Rhona added, “I hope I get extra time to practice flying, it doesn’t come naturally!. I’m not really thinking about it too much, but it might be a different story when I get up there!”

Tickets for Mary Torphins are available online at, by phone at (01224) 641122 and at Aberdeen Box Office at the Music Hall and His Majesty’s Theatre.