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Rantin

Kilmardinny Arts Centre, Bearsden
Four stars
Local heroes come in many guises. Most of them are in this brand 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 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.

The Herald, January 31st 2013

ends


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