THE Sunday National’s publication of the Robert Louis Stevenson short story Markheim has a particular resonance for me because in 1999, I adapted this morality tale for a stage play called Marky.

I have always been fascinated by Markheim since I studied it at school, and I have always considered it to be a forerunner of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde, with its themes of duality and the supernatural.

I updated the story to make Marky a modern-day gambler and I did enjoy giving the characters a distinctive Scottish voice.

Other than that, I left the story as intact as I could – after all, how do you improve on genius?

My brother Stevie, who died suddenly at the age of 55 in 2016, loved the idea and got the Counterfeiters Theatre Company of Glasgow involved from the start, and that brought on board John Clyde, whose direction was simply excellent.

READ MORE: Classic Scottish first chapters: Markheim by Robert Louis Stevenson

With Stevie playing the dual role of the dealer/bookie and his “ghost” and the young Kenny Park playing Marky, the cast and crew were soon assembled, including our friend Glen Lindsay and his band Mex providing suitably atmospheric music.

Having been the Fringe correspondent of The Scotsman and with plenty of involvement in the scene before that, I found us a venue with Scottish International at the Famous Grouse House. In return I wrote A Parcel Of Burns for them that year and I’m glad to say it did well.

I was also able to source sponsorship from the trustees of the Hamada Foundation, named after the eccentric Japanese millionaire who loved the Edinburgh Festival so much that he set up a fund to subsidise productions and award prizes.

From the outset Marky was a professional production, and it was highly collaborative, with me learning stagecraft lessons from my brother in particular, which was very good of him as I had written a very violent murder scene in which his character was the victim.

We only had one real disagreement in which I had to put the foot down and said a particular character would never have used the word schadenfreude. Stevie wisecracked: “Pretentious? Nous?”

I wrote the Fringe programme blurb which stated Marky was “Faust meets Repo Man in a chilling maelstrom of urban blood-sport and stolen souls.” Pretentious? Moi?

As with all the best Fringe productions, it opened to a paying audience of precisely five and the top audience was 32. But we didn’t lose any money and the then director of the Edinburgh Festival Sir Brian McMaster was kind enough to praise the production on television. The greatest accolade was a four-star review by Owen Dudley Edwards in The Scotsman. I treasure it still. The Counterfeiters then took it on a world tour of three west coast pubs …

Stevie wanted to update it for the internet gambling age, but that never happened. I still have the original script if any producer out there is looking for a short play that can be done quickly and inexpensively, just as it was in 1999.