Kids Innerleithen Youth Theatre is set to revive one of the all-time American musicals next month. Oklahoma will be reborn for the third time on the Memorial Hall stage, by a young cast saddling up and taking the reins of their second show. Peeblesshire News reporter Hilary Scott joined the hoedown rehearsal last Wednesday and spoke with the cast as they prepared for the upbeat cowboy classic.

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s collaboration is uniquely adapted for youth performers who are working hard to bring you a rootin’ tootin’, chap-slapping show.

It comes from the prodigies of Innerleithen Opera, who last year brought the rags to riches tale of orphan Annie to life.

The success of their debut performance led to calls for another show, and the young actors from KIYT jumped at the chance to take to the stage again.

They are stepping back to a time before any of them were born. Set in the Western Indian Territory just after the turn of the 20th century, the spirited rivalry between the local farmers and cowboys provides the backdrop for a love story between Curly, a handsome cowboy, and Laurey, a beautiful farm girl.

But the road to true love is a bumpy one, especially as sinister farm-hand Jud Fry has his sights set on Laurey, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get her.

But Laurey isn’t the only girl in Oklahoma with cowboy troubles. Her ditzy friend Ado Annie just loves it when a fella talks purty to her! She’s taken up with the Peddler man who doesn’t want her.

Meanwhile cowboy Will Parker desperately wants the irrepressible Annie to be his bride. But for him it's ‘all of nothin’. However, Ado Annie has just one problem when she’s with a fella – ‘she can’t say no!’

Riding ahead of the herd of romanticised cowboy land is Laurey’s wise-cracking Aunt Eller. If anyone can sort out the messy love triangle it’s her.

As rehearsals get under way in the Library Hall I’m at a loose end until I can grab some of the principals for a chat.

Deep within this building is the most magical wardrobe, which has been bringing characters to life in many a show performed by Innerleithen and District Operatic Society.

Seamstresses Rhona McGlasson and Susan McGinn have been working the needle and thread for more years than they care to remember, but they tell me it’s “playtime” to them, and they are often scouring charity shops for bargains.

I cast my eye over the checks, neck scarfs, and long floral dresses. “The youngsters love trying on their costumes,” says Rhona. “It’s like playing dressing up”.

Between scenes I catch up with some of the cast. First up was Curly (Fin Price) his rival Jud Fry (Nathan Pirie) and Andrew Carnes (Oliver Kennedy).

It’s Fin’s first show with KIYT and he’s looking forward to playing the lovelorn cowboy. “I was hoping to play Curly, he’s a kind guy with a big heart. Rehearsals are fun, I enjoy acting with everyone. They are a great group of people.”

Oliver is playing Ado Annie’s protective father Andrew Carnes, who doesn’t want cowboy Will Parker to marry his daughter.

“He is a bold character and fatherly figure,” said Oliver. “I’m working on the accent, it’s going pretty well.”

And the most feared character is Jud Fry, played by Nathan Pirie. I have to say, he didn’t strike me as the typical villain. That was until I saw him in action during rehearsal!

“I’ve always wanted to be an actor and be the bad guy,” he said. “I have to put on quite a low voice for my character. He’s a dark person. I’m looking forward to the wedding scene when I have a fight with Curly.”

This year’s leading lady is Neve Scott, who last year made her debut performance with KIYT as the con-woman Lily St Regis in Annie.

Neve played the ditsy, whiney floozy, but this year will grace this stage as the head-strong farm girl Laurey, who secretly loves Curly.

She said: “This role is the complete opposite to the character I played last year which is great. I have some fantastic solos and I have been working on expanding my vocals to hit the powerful notes. I love having to put on an accent and I’ve been working hard to perfect it. The whole cast are great and I can’t wait to perform with them.”

Angela Grant is new to KIYT and has landed the role of the feisty Aunt Eller. “I watched the film but I really started to like my character when we began rehearsing. It’s my first acting role and I’m enjoying being part of a musical theatre group. When all the cast get together for scenes there’s a great atmosphere.”

I caught up with George Brydon who is saddling up to play cowboy Will Parker. “I feel very excited to play Will because he’s a happy-go-lucky sort of guy with some sick moves, and I’m looking forward to learning the two-step. I’m loving being in Oklahoma. It’s a great show with classic songs.”

Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to catch all the cast – perhaps Ado Annie was too busy to peel herself away from the smooth-talking cowboys!

I did, however, sneak a peek at the auction scene being rehearsed. Whilst bids of dollars, saddles and even a horse are being hollered, I make my bid and buy a ticket for this show, because this cast are doing grand in Oklahoma and they’re gonna treat you great!

Tickets for the shows on November 7, 8 and 9 are now available from the Thrift Shop or The Hub in Innerleithen, Graham McGrath’s, Peebles,, Facebook/inneropera, or by phoning 0737 9401958.