RESEARCH for her latest show – a musical comedy all about a trio of wedding planners – opened Alyson Orr’s eyes to a weird and wonderful world.

“I had no idea how competitive it all was,” marvels the Erskine-born actor, singer and producer.

“I interviewed a couple of people working in the industry and the demands that brides have are incredible, from wanting hundreds of bridesmaids, to insisting the band matches the colour scheme, to astronomical budgets – it’s really quite something.”

The Wedding Planners kicks off a countrywide tour tonight in Motherwell, and it comes to Oran Mor in Glasgow on Tuesday (October 29).

It has been written by Gillian Duffy, successful Irish playwright, screenwriter, author and producer, who worked with Alyson recently on the hit play, The Ghosting of Rabbie Burns.

The Wedding Planners also marks a first for Alyson, who is well known for her role as one third of successful singing trio The Swingcats.

Her production company, Alyson Orr Ltd, has produced plays, musicals, pantos and tours for singers and comedy performers across the UK and as an actor, she has appeared in various TV shows, films, commercials and stage productions.

This is the first time, however, that she has written the music for a show.

“I have always liked writing songs, but I have never done anything with them,” she explains, taking a break to do a fun photoshoot at Glasgow bridal shop Melle Cloche.

“I worked with Gillian recently on The Ghosting of Rabbie Burns, helping out with some of the musical arrangements, and I let her see some of the songs I had written.

“She said they would be great for a musical comedy, and so I thought I’d go for it.”

Alyson adds: “There are so many pop music shows around just now, like We Will Rock You and Mamma Mia – not that I am in any way suggesting I am in the same bracket as ABBA – and there is a real appetite for it.

“I thought of setting it in the world of wedding planners because – well, who doesn’t love a wedding? A wedding has a lot of comedy potential.”

The songs are full of humour and pathos, she explains.

“This is a comedy, of course, so most of it is really tongue in cheek – so no big power ballads.”

She jokes: “I’ll save those for the big West End version….”

The Wedding Planners tells the story of Mairi, who has her dream job running the I Do wedding agency, planning that special day for bride- to-be all over the country while dealing with bridezillas, wild hen nights and potential Prosecco shortages - the horror!

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Mairi is also fed up being single; she has signed up to every dating site going, but she still cannot find her Prince Charming, It doesn’t help that both her colleagues, Rose and Belle, are in relationships.

As Mairi continues to search for romance, she stumbles upon a secret that threatens to plunge the agency into chaos and ruin everything for an unsuspecting bride to be.

Alyson explains: “I thought it would be interesting to look at changing attitudes to marriage – the three characters are all different ages, at different stages.

“So there is a flighty young thing, trying out dating apps; the thirtysomething who is a bit more jaded, and an older woman – that’s me, although I really can’t quite believe I’m saying that – who got married young, because that’s just what you did in those days.

“It’s a lot of fun.”

As the tour kicks off, Alyson admits that while the last few weeks have been fun, they have also been touched by sadness.

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Her close friend and former theatre partner Stuart Thomas died after a year-long battle with leukaemia.

Alyson and Stuart set up Take Two Productions together, creating comedy hits such as Salon Janette, before he went on to become playwright in residence at the Citizens Theatre. Stuart moved to San Francisco, but he and Alyson kept in touch.

“We spoke or texted every day,” she says. “He was a lovely and talented man, a great musician and writer, and he will be greatly missed.”

For The Wedding Planners, Alyson worked with Kennedy Aitchison, well-known musician and composer, whose recent roles include assistant musical director on the west end hit School of Rock.

“Having someone like Kennedy on hand has been fantastic,” says Alyson. “There is no live band in the show – again, one for the West End version! – so we have had to prepare the music in advance.

“I’m really delighted too, to have Gill McGowan and Emily Ashton, two fantastic actresses, on board.”

The inspiration for the songs in The Wedding Planners stretches back to Alyson’s childhood , she explains.

“I was a huge Glen Campbell fan when I was young – it came from my dad, who played his greatest hits album all the time when I was growing up,” she smiles.

“Dreams of the Everyday Housewife was one of my favourites, and it was written by Chris Gantry. When I started writing the songs for the Wedding Planners it was always in my head, so I tracked down Chris and told him I was a fan and that it had inspired me to do the play.”

She smiles: “I didn’t expect to hear anything, but he sent me a lovely message, which just meant such a lot to me.”

The Wedding Planners is at Motherwell Theatre tonight (October 25); East Kilbride Arts Centre tomorrow (October 26) and on November 2; Howden Park Centre in Livingston on Sunday, October 27; Paisley Arts Centre on Monday, October 28; Oran Mor on Tuesday, October 29; Eastwood Theatre on Wednesday, October 30; Harbour Arts Centre in Irvine on Friday, November 1; and the Beacon Arts Centre in Greenock on Sunday, November 3.

Visit venue websites to book tickets and for more information.