Edinburgh Fringe 2010
According to this dynamic troupe, the tale of Scotland’s history is in dire need of a rewrite, with the factual inaccuracies corrected. They are just the team to do it. With fingers crossed tightly behind their backs, they address what they identify as some of the major issues, welcoming discussion but pitying anyone who is not Scottish because they couldn’t possible understand.
The first thing you’re going to have to accept is that god is Sean Connery. He provides the narrative for this pageant and peppers it liberally with some choice language. Adam and Eve, were placed in the garden of Edenburgh, naturally, and Adam is not his real name, God actually named him Rab. Owing to the stupidity of Cain and Abel, they would have to be doomed forever to supporting Rangers and Celtic and trying to knock the stuffing out of each other.
We carry on in this vein at a rate of knots lurching from the downright absurd to fairly shrewd observations. There are some punchy pieces of comedy particularly the dissection of the rift between Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth the first. A girl fight with the customary name calling, eg , strumpet, that went horribly wrong. Rabbie Burns also appears but whilst he earns recognition for his poems, there is the more truthful acknowledgement of his wandering eye and desire for the drink. Highlights for me were the Andy Murray sketch. Interviewed by the frightfully English and xenophobic commentator at Wimbledon, Murray is hailed as British until Nadal thrashes him where he is immediately relegated back to being Scottish. Although anti English sentiment comes as no surprise in this show, fret not for they are not alone. No nation is spared from their wrath with the French, Australians and gullible American tourists all ridiculed.
The show is funny, droll and moves at quite a pace to cram all their themes into 50 minutes. DBS Productions have a strong cast who appear to be genuinely enjoying the slap stick, buffoonery and profanity. The permanent backdrop is a map of Scotland with various landmarks, Edinburgh Castle, Loch Ness Monster etc strategically placed, therefore the cast are totally reliant on their energy and costumes onstage to maintain attention. They try to assist this during the scene changes by a blackout with the Connery voice over. The weak spot here really was the audio quality for Sean Connery’s voice, he was speaking fairly fast and although a fairly close impersonation, that particular brogue calls for a slurring of words that sometimes got lost. I would also have liked to see more variance in the lighting design, subtle blends would have enhanced some of odder storylines, especially the one about meat where the emphasis was totally on the faces pulled by the actor.
However, this did not detract from an enjoyable hour of silliness greatly enjoyed by their audience. They managed to incorporate the insult felt at the arrogance of Mel Gibson’s Braveheart and although Connery was god, his tax related exile did not go unscathed. They finish off on a positive note citing all things brilliant about the Scots and their inventions. Performed in this Grassmarket hotel, under the shadow from the capitals castle itself , the cast of eight proudly look skywards with a tear in their eyes.