THE­ATRE THE LAssEs, o Hen­der­son’s Veg­e­tar­ian res­tau­rant and arts Venue (Venue 269) HHHHH

The Scotsman - - Fringereviews Hotshow -

WRIT­TEn by Scots poet and writer Janet Pais­ley and de­but­di­rected by her ac­tor son David, this solidly-crafted and en­ter­tain­ing piece acts as a pseudo-bi­og­ra­phy of Robert Burns’ life, with one very telling dif­fer­ence in per­spec­tive. Here, the no­to­ri­ous wom­an­iser and man’s man finds his times fil­tered through the eyes of five dif­fer­ent women who knew him at var­i­ous points. Al­though not all are com­pletely in­ter­twined with Burns’ life, their speech and at­ti­tudes give a res­o­nant pic­ture of the poet’s times.

Much of Janet Pais­ley’s renown comes from her writ­ing in old Scots, and it’s a plea­sure to hear her words per­formed with the joy and pre­ci­sion the cast of five women lend the Dum­friesshire brogue she has em­ployed. Crammed with Scots act­ing tal­ent (Suzanne Don­ald­son, Mar­garet Fraser, Car­rie-Anne English, Pamela Byrne and natalie McCon­non), the piece fol­lows Burns’ life through mono­logues from the mid­wife who helped give birth to him to the neigh­bour who poignantly cares for this love­able rogue as he fi­nally gives up the ghost.

In be­tween, amid fear­less and funny tales of smug­gling and wom­an­is­ing, Fraser’s turn as a mother who’s as en­tranced by Burns as her preg­nant daugh­ter is blessed with all the best lines.

dAvid PoL­Lock

Un­til 29 Au­gust. To­mor­row 8pm.

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