IT’S 1888 in the snowswept, Scottish Gaelic-speaking town of Stornoway, Quebec. The hunt for the notorious Quebecois-Gaelic outlaw Donald Morrison is coming to a head in the saloon of the town’s local hotel.

With bounty hunters and a heavily armed detective agency on his tail, Morrison intends to seek refuge in the hotel, which is run by his sister Uilleamina and her Francophone (and Gaelic-speaking) husband, Jean Baptiste Bouchard. Unbeknownst to Donald, he is also being pursued by Màiri MacNeill, a gun-slinging cattle rustler from Barra, who he thought he’d left back in Texas.

Such is the set-up for Stornoway, Quebec, the new play by Calum L MacLeòid for Scotland’s Gaelic language drama company Theatre Gu Leòr. Morrison – who was, in his day, the most wanted man in Canada – is a real, historical figure.

READ MORE: Theatre Gu Leòr presents Stornoway, Quebec on stage

This is no history play, however. Rather, it is a tremendously imaginative escapade centred, not on Morrison, but on MacNeill. Played with a fabulous sense of mischief and righteous anger by Elspeth Turner, the play’s heroine is a boldly drawn representative of the numerous women who, guns on their hips, took their chances in the Wild West.

MacNeill slips effortlessly between Gaelic and English, as does the play. Her rage at her betrayal by Morrison is equalled only (and in a powerfully delivered Gaelic speech) by her hatred of the landowners and factors who orchestrated the Highland Clearances.

MacLeòid’s whisky-fuelled drama is performed on an evocative barroom set by designer Becky Minto. It boasts fine performances from the young duo of MJ Deans and Sam James Smith (as Mrs and Mr Bouchard), Dòl Eoin MacKinnon (the enigmatic and, here, less-than-heroic Morrison) and Daibhidh Walker (the pompous and ruthless businessman-turned-politician Major Malcolm MacAuley).

Particular praise is due to the cast for the manner in which they handled a tricky disruption to Thursday evening’s performance in Aberdeen. A technical problem with the sound forced a pause in the show. However, the actors picked up the action admirably, despite the unwelcome break in their momentum.

Thank goodness that the Granite City audience was able to see the play through to its end. By the conclusion, the drama seems like Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight meets Ridley Scott’s Thelma And Louise. In a better world, this play would be making its way on to the big screen, and in Gaelic.

The National: Elspeth Turner (L), Dòl Eoin MacKinnon (C) and Sam James Smith (R).in Stornoway, QuebecElspeth Turner (L), Dòl Eoin MacKinnon (C) and Sam James Smith (R).in Stornoway, Quebec (Image: Mihaela Bodlovic)

Directed by Theatre Gu Leòr’s founder Muireann Kelly, the production is as tight and theatrical as MacLeòid’s writing. In fact, this is Kelly’s final show before she departs for her new role as the head of Fíbín at An Taibhdhearc, the National Irish Language Theatre in Galway.

A playful and memorable story rooted in the history of the Scottish Gaelic diaspora, it is a credit to the company, to writer MacLeòid and to Kelly herself. The director has been a powerhouse in Scottish Gaelic theatre. As she makes her move to Connemara, Scotland’s loss is most definitely Ireland’s gain.

Plays Eden Court, Inverness, April 11 and Tron Theatre, Glasgow, April 13-15: