Armour: A Herstory of the Scottish Bard (4 stars)

This article is from 2018

Armour: A Herstory of the Scottish Bard

The women in Robert Burns' life finally meet, in this witty and moving musical

That Robert Burns put as much effort into his sexual exploits as he did his poetry is no secret. But from the annuls of history, two women have always emerged as the loves of his life: Jean Armour and Nancy MacLehose. Between them, they inspired the Scottish bard to write some truly beautiful verse – but what about the women themselves?

This warm and witty musical from Fearless Players, a company comprised of graduates from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, gives these legendary muses a voice of their own. A chance encounter at an Edinburgh dinner party, some 30 years after Burns' death, brings Jean and Nancy face-to-face for the first time – a tense moment beautifully laced with humour.

Once acquainted, the women get together for tea and sing their own, candid, song about the man they both loved and were let down by. Running alongside this imagined meeting, is the tale of Sarah – Burns' granddaughter – who spends some of her formative years with her granny, Jean.

Not only are there no weak links in this four-strong cast, they're all iron-clad. Nina Gray is a wholly believable child (no mean feat) as Sarah, while Lydia Davidson and Lori Flannigan as Nancy and Jean respectively are funny, tender and brusque as the mood requires – and again, completely believable.

Sitting behind the piano, is Shonagh Murray, the woman responsible for writing and composing this gorgeous show – and whose music and lyrics splice perfectly into Burns' own work.

theSpace @ Jurys Inn, until 25 Aug, 2.10pm, £8 (£7).

Armour: A Herstory of the Scottish Bard

  • 4 stars

Fearless Players What do the widow and mistress of Scotland's famous bard discuss over tea? After the death of Robert Burns, his wife Jean Armour and mistress Nancy Maclehose, finally meet. Female-led theatre company Fearless Players bring an all-female production dedicated to the women behind Scotland’s history. Jean and…