"A Nicht Wi' Burns"
FRIDAY 23RD AUGUST 2013
7.30pm - 10.30pm
REVIEW: The Bard's star still burns brightly
IT MAY be 250 years since Robert Burns was born, yet the magic of his poetry and songs lives on as fresh today as it must have been when he put quill to paper.
A fact borne out by the splendid staging of A Nicht Wi' Burns on a chilly autumn evening at Bathgate's Regal Community Theatre when a packed theatre cheered, applauded and even joined in singing the weel kent Scots Wha' Hae played and sung by White Satin (Messrs Fisher and Mitchel).
Keyboard Virtuoso Paul Mitchel managed to accompany each of the polished performers superbly and in keeping with the character of the songs.
So, we heard the sound of a clarsach, an accordian band, a piano and an orchestra all from this one musician and some rousing ceilidh guitar sounds and songs from Mr Fisher.
If Burns could have auditioned a suitable raconteur to narrate the story of his early life and effortlessly introduce the creme de la creme of Burnsian aficionados, he would most certainly have employed Jim Bowes, who took charge of the proceedings.
A backdrop depicting the Bard himself and scenes of his childhood added atmosphere, and never more so when the undoubted star of the entire evening, Willie Kirk, gave the finest rendition of Tam o' Shanter I've ever heard.
It would be ungallant to mention this gentleman's age, suffice to say we were told he has been a Burns poetry exponent for over 60 years.
At the other end of the spectrum we had the pure, crystal clear voice of young Fionne McQue, surely a rising star ready to be discovered and, of course, we had the Star O' Rabbie Burns and a hilarious rendering of the Twa Dogs by Andy Welsh and John Ramsay.
The Equally amusing Willie Wastle with Tom Jenkins invited us to join in the "Ah wudnae gie a button for her" chorus as he interpreted the Bard's description of an ugly wife to perfection, and To a Louse.
Mind you, when you have professional tenors like Alex Campbell, John Close, Alan Baff and Sam Mackay, it brings a lump to the throat, though.
No prizes for guessing this highly entertaining evening ended with Fionne McQue leading us all in a rousing chorus of Auld Lang Syne.
Man, it fair made ye feel proud to be Scottish, a racist remark perhaps in this day of political correctness, but totally in keeping with A Nicht Wi' Burns, which the Bard himself might well have waxed lyrical about.
Over 18s Only