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Burns Review
Review by Callum Stott.

"It is great to see a new Scottish musical being produced and brought to the stage at one of Scotlands' largest theatres."  

Theatre is alive in Edinburgh in the form of this brand-new musical centred on the legacy of Scotland's favourite poet, Rabbie Burns. Set in modern-day Edinburgh, the audience must imagine what it would be like if Burns existed today and the extremes of Celebrity and stardom that today's world would put on Burns. 


As a premise, this show is incredibly ambitious and tricky to pull off, and I would say this production still feels like a good work-in-progress musical where dialogue needs to be tighter and more polished.

Elijah Aspinall, who plays Rabbie Burns, delivers a well-rounded Burns with a lot of love in his heart, which is shown in the delivery of his poetry whilst also portraying a more flawed character trying to deal with the complications that come with being famous. 

The on-stage narrator, played by the composer and creator of the musical, Tish Tindall, is a welcome addition to the show and keeps the story moving along. It almost feels like her role is to sympathise with Rabbie Burns and interact with him with a knowing gaze as his story plays out on stage. Her vocals are also strong, and you can see the passion in her eyes as her cast performs the show. The ensemble plays multiple characters that interact with Burns and are a group of really talented performers. The choreography does add to keeping the story moving along too. 

The plot is good at its core but could do with more consistency. Burns's relationship with his mother was only really lightly touched. Additionally, the two characters who become friends of Burns, within the plot of the show, do not really add anything.

Above all, with this project, new theatre is being created and celebrated. Sure, some changes are required, and things are not perfect, but it is great to see a new Scottish musical being produced and brought to the stage at one of Scotlands' largest theatres.

Burns ran at the Edinburgh Playhouse from Friday 20th - Saturday 21st January.

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