Wee Willie Gray (4 stars)

This article is from 2010

Wee Willie Gray

Magical adventure for Burns’ wee boy

Robert Burns wasn’t known for writing children’s verse – and even when he did, he was economical with his words. So Foolish Notion (aka Andy Cannon and Wendy Weatherby) had their work cut out turning his six line song Wee Willie Gray into an hour-long show.

Written in 1795, the wee ditty suggests Willie is so small, he could fashion himself a new outfit from plants and flowers. From this, the storytelling and music duo have carved out a tale of castles, lochs, mermaids and Ghillie Dhus (fairies from Scottish folklore) as Wee Willie goes on a big adventure inside an old storybook.

As with previous Foolish Notion productions, there’s a lovely mix of words and music, plus Cannon’s animated style of delivery. Aimed at younger audiences than their last offering, Oor Rabbie (ages 4-6) the audience participation is gentle and fun, with all of us encouraged to be spooky trees, sew Willie’s costume and sing the ‘magic note’.

Inevitably, with such a short verse, there are some moments when the ‘padding’ is more obvious than others. But Canon’s ability to turn the simplest of props into something altogether different – in this instance a pair of oven gloves – and his engaging manner holds our attention to the last.

Scottish Storytelling Centre, 556 9579, until 30 Aug (not 23), 10.30am, £7.50 (£5).

Wee Willie Gray

  • 4 stars

'Wee Willie Gray' lives in a book, an old book, a book that no one has read for a very long time. Join Robert Burns' celebrated character for wee ones as he sets off on a fantastic journey through the magical musical museum. Storyteller Andy Cannon ('One of our most gifted and engaging storytellers' [ Herald ]) and…