Went to the opening night of Loving Burns yesterday. A beautifully lyrical play written, directed and performed by Alicia Devine, a friend of a friend. About Robert Burns ( Scottish poet, 18th C) but from the point of view of the women in his life. A real achievement to pull this all together single-handedly ( with one other actress). The venue is the Roxburghe and tickets today are still half price previews at £4.50 – 5.30pm. Her run continues for the whole of the fringe festival.
I have swithered a little in my opinion of Burns. At school I really liked him partly because winning a Burns competition gave me a huge confidence boost. Then as I studied for a tourism qualification I went right off him – he really was a bit of a cad. This play redeemed him a little again as it was a very affectionate portrayal. What is not in question is the huge contribution he made to Scottish literature and song. Not only with his own poetry , but also for collecting and preserving old Scottish tunes that might otherwise have been lost. And it is no small feat to have written the song sung pretty well all over the world every New Year. ( Most recently featured in the Sex and the City film – with the older and less well known melody, but beautifully sung by another Edinburgh performer Mairi Campbell from The Cast )
The photograph above is of the Canongate (part of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh) and just along from Canongate Kirk where “Clarinda” is buried – one of the great loves of Burns’ life.