- Megan Merino
- 10 August 2021
A Fringe hour of beautifully familiar Scottish folk tunes played by seasoned musicians
This Corries-inspired musical duo is comprised of singers and multi-instrumentalists Martin Philip and Douglas Kay. Their return to the Fringe after a sold-out 2019 run does exactly what you'd expect, with Burns, Scott and Byron tunes being satisfyingly played on guitars with charm and occasional wit.
Between songs, the pair make small talk that is often more earnest than hilarious, but always keeps the audience feeling taken care of. Their harmonies are tight and the guitar playing safe and tuneful for most of the hour. Moments of elevated musicianship do come, however, one in a breakdown of 'The Rattlin' Bog' where the pair battle it out on their guitars, trying to outplay the other using famous riffs including 'Smoke On The Water' and 'Bohemian Rhapsody'.
The Sorries manage to capture all the right moods: original melodies to Burns poems pull on the heart strings, old favourites ('Wild Mountain Thyme' and 'Dark Lochnagar') bring familiar comforts, and ceilidh classics get the crowd moving in their seats. Finally, a couple of bodhrán-led songs are welcome palate cleansers and show the breadth of the pair's musical skills.
Despite first and foremost being a musical act, The Sorries do manage to fit in a few family-friendly comedic moments that thankfully avoid splitting the room. Their daily rewriting of verses in 'Johnny Lad' plays host to this show's best gags, which truly hit the gathering's spot. The music's feelgood nature and a genuineness between both men are enjoyable and soothing to watch, though a few more risks could have been taken to increase the levels of excitement. Nevertheless, the instances of toe-tapping and occasional singalong generated by The Sorries are heartwarming and give an indication of just how much live performance has been missed by all.
The Sorries, Pleasance at EICC, until Sunday 29 August (not Mondays & Tuesdays), 4.30pm, £11.50–£12.50 (£10–£11).