Monday, August 10, 2009

"Ae Fond Kiss" - Edinburgh Fringe 2009

Not being really much of a Burns fan I was a little unsure about seeing this one, but fortunately this isn't so much about Robert Burns the Poet as Robert Burns the Man. Simon Beattie & Bruce Strachan have written a delightful piece of theatre that puts the character of Burns front and centre while incorporating extracts of his work and many of the characters they feature. At turns genuinely funny and powerfully moving it is always thoroughly entertaining.

Allan Scott-Douglas brings the required charm and charisma to Burns and has a real presence as he carouses the stage while Gilchrist Muir excels in a number of roles - including a fantastic turn as Burns' landlady Annie Wilson. The remaining cast all get moments to shine amongst their multiple roles - Alison McFarlane transitioning effectively from young love to long suffering wife Jean; Jennifer Macdonell displaying an impressive vocal talent as his tragic Highland Mary and Rebecca Bradley portraying the conflict in Nancy as she is torn between her husband and Burns.

Music and song is an integral part of the show and the whole cast contribute their talents along with live music provided by Jemma Capaldi on piano and Emily Sinclair on flute. And while some may question the location of the show at the Scottish Mining Museum just outside Edinburgh, the wonderful acoustics of the Powerhouse quickly justify it - very few Edinburgh Fringe venues would stand up to comparison. It may not have the instant draw of Nonsense Room's usual home at Rosslyn Chapel but it's a marvelous choice of location and in fact the museum itself looks so interesting from the small part we saw we hope to return for a visit post-Fringe.

Amidst a Fringe programme that seems to have more than it's fair share of misery and realism, NonsenseRoom have created a show they intend people to enjoy - and I doubt there will be many people who will leave it without a smile on their faces.

Finally, a couple of bits of practical advice. The Museum is about 20 minutes by car from Edinburgh city centre (in good traffic conditions) and around 30 minutes by bus but it is well worth the effort (and you could easily spend that long walking across the city from venue to venue). The other thing you need to note is that although the Fringe website has the runtime as 75 minutes, the night we attended it ran to 100 minutes and I suspect that's the normal runtime so bear that in mind if planning further shows afterwards.

Ae Fond Kiss runs at the Scottish Mining Museum until 29th August with tickets costing £10. There are no Saturday performances with the exception of a Special Evening on the 29th which costs £25 and includes tour of the museum, cast and crew Q&A and a post show buffet.

2 Heckles

Anonymous said...

A great eveingings entertainment.

The cast were full of energy in portraying the bitter sweet short life of Burns "the chancer". And yet in today's world the same story is common place but with none of the charm.

Jemma Capaldi and Emily Sinclair provided an excellent accompanyment on piano and flute.

Anonymous said...

We went to see this last night and what a joy! A brilliant journey through the life an work of Burns - the emotional context of so many of his works are perfectly delivered.

It is certainly worth the trip out of the centre of Edinburgh, hopefully this one won't pass below the radar because the venue is a bit out of the way.