Brian Beacom

WHAT do you do when your partner has strayed with the “trollop” who lives up the road?

Do you cut up his favourite, personally autographed football shirt into grass-sized pieces?

Throw a tin of Dulux gloss over the bonnet of his beloved Mini Cooper?

Nah. Too tame. Here’s what you do; you and your five sisters and Maw and Granny get together for a night of witchcraft whereupon you call upon Satan to help you exact a real revenge.

That’s the theme of Des Dillon’s black (very black) comedy Six Black Candles which opens at the Pavilion next week.

The play – with music entirely relevant to the theme of witchery, such as That Old Black Magic – features a cast of top Scots actresses.

But most importantly, it’s funny. When a priest pays the Catholic sisters a surprise visit, confusion reigns.

And somehow, we end up with a pair of boxer shorts being burned and a head in the freezer.

The youngest member of the cast, 29 year-old Clare Shephard, says Des Dillon’s play is hysterical.

“I play Donna, the sister of Caroline who has been cheated on. And Donna is into witchcraft in a big way.

“She’s great to play.”

Clare, who grew up in Blantyre adds, grinning; “I’ve even got a great cackle in this play.”

Clare, who formed her own theatre company Sonic Boom when she left university, loves the darkness of the role.

“In fact, I’m so into the part of playing someone who loves the idea of witchcraft I think I’m developing a wart at the end of my nose.”

The scenes in the Coatbridge living room involve the sisters performing a black mass to cast a hex over Stacie Gracie, the 19-year-old babysitter who has run off Caroline’s husband.

But the real fun is to be had is with the relationship between the sisters themselves.

They’re a disparate bunch; for example, one is a teacher with a fancy car while another has a son in a secure unit after a hammer attack.

“Most of the action is background noise to the relationship between the sisters,” confirms Clare, who has been performing almost since she could talk in youth theatre.

There’s ) Caroline, the betrayed (Julie Duncanson) Geddy, the man-daft, rather stupid sister (Debbie Welsh), Angie, the hard-as-nails but kind sister (Joyce Falconer) Linda, who is a disabled athlete (Kirsty Malone) and posh Wendy (Alyson Orr).

Maw, is played by Carole AndersThe priest is played by Chris Taylor, and Douglas Sannachan plays Bobby.

Six Black Candles was based around the adventures of Des Dillon’s own sisters who dabbled, for a time, in the black arts.

The play has been performed in Edinburgh to critical acclaim and has been a huge success in Russia.

Has 29 year-old Clare ever ever reached for the book of black magic spells to punish a straying partner?

“I won’t go into the detail of what I did when I found out my partner had cheated,” she says with a glint in her eye.

“But I can say I opted for a more conventional revenge. I resorted to a Facebook rant.”

She adds, laughing; “Who needs witchcraft when you can call up the powers of social media.”

The oldest member of the cast, Sheena Penson, plays Granny in the play.

“She’s a mad Irish woman from Donegal,” says the actress smiling.

“She’s quite tough. But right now the challenge is to get the accent right, but I’m getting there.”

Granny directs the spells during the black mass.

“She speaks Irish Gaelic as well. Writer Des Dillon has been writing it out for me phonetically. And it’s quite a challenge.

“But what’s really great about the play is the family dynamics.”

Sheena has an unplaceable accent. “My father was in the army but we moved around a lot.

“I attended six different schools as a youngster. But we always came back to Glasgow for holidays.”

She adds; “In fact, a lot of Forces children end up becoming actors. I think it’s because they’re used to moving around a lot, meeting different people all the time.

“But I’ve always felt I belonged here and when I came to appear in panto in Motherwell in 1974 I didn’t go back.”

Sheen trained initially as a primary teacher.

“I got my Equity card doing touring theatre with children’s productions and then did stage management for a while before going to drama school in London.

“After that I only did acting work.”

More recently, has been filming for the next series of Still Game.

“That was lovely,” she says. “The cast were all one big happy family.”

Not at all like the family featured in Des Dillon’s black comedy.

“No,” says Sheena smiling. “Very different indeed. There was no witchcraft practised at all.”

Would Sheena ever consider a little witchcraft in real life, if the need arose.

“Not at all,” she says, laughing.

“Although when I was a kid I wished that someone would fall ill so I could be in the school Chistmas play.

“And they did. But I ended up just playing the tree.”

• Six Black Candles, The Pavilion, September 13-16.