Ramshackle action in the Pictish Free State
This article is from 2010.
Haggis McSporran (no, that’s his real name), who may or may not be the greatest standup in Scotland since Craig Ferguson/Frankie Boyle/delete as appropriate, is conflicted. He’s spent much of his 27 years trying and failing to understand the relationship between the Scots and the English, and it may, or may not, have landed him in a mental asylum, where his diagnosis is ‘Scottishness’. This raggedy comic bender around the Highlands (and northern identity) has a lot going for it. The all-female cast (playing mostly male parts) are charismatic and mad for it, bagpipes and country dancing are used to cheeky and occasionally unsettling effect, and Haggis, as played by an on-form Sarah Haworth, is a worthy successor to the Big Yin.
However, the story is rather missing in action and the script feels unfinished: it would have been interesting to drop the rather stilted asylum scenes and use these characters (especially Annie Grace’s lobotomised, bagpipe-clutching militant nationalist Uncle Angus) more coherently. The meatiest discussion of identity comes in Haggis’ stand up sets: perhaps Haworth should consider taking him on tour. Fringe 2011?
Udderbelly’s Pasture, 0844 545 8252, until 30 August (not 16), 3.50pm, £12–£13.50 (£11–£12).