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Review: Theatre



Kilmardinny Arts Centre, Bearsden

LOCAL heroes come in many guises. Most of them are in this new ceilidh play, ostensibly written and directed by Kieran Hurley, but, as is made clear from the off, with crucial artistic input from fellow performers Gav Prentice, Julia Taudevin and Drew Wright.

The quartet are already mucking about as the audience enter designer Lisa Sangster's cosy replication of a Scotch sitting room, singing and playing folk songs old and new.

Once the four have set out their store, they introduce us to a set of individuals, each of whom are in their own way in search of something or somewhere to belong to. On one level, the fact that both these brave new worlds might just be called Scotland is incidental. Yet such sense of place is also crucial to Howard, the Braveheart-weaned American, Miriam the bus-riding immigrant, MacPherson the Methill drunk and all the others who map out a small nation on the verge of something or other.

In the wrong hands such characters as the supermarket check-out girl set on reinventing Luddism, and the boy leaving the island for the city, might easily have ended up as cartoon stereotypes in a tartanised take on Little Britain. What emerges through story and song in Hurley's National Theatre of Scotland production, that will tour the length and breadth of the country following its initial run at the Arches last year, is a dramatic collage of a fractured nation in flux.

The stories are by turns funny, poignant and gloriously internationalist in tone, and when MacPherson finally finds his lost keys, it's an all too sober symbol of a world of possibilities waiting to be unlocked.

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