Burns: The Video Diary
- John-Paul Holden
- 25 August 2010
This article is from 2010.
Rabbie gets down and dirty in Auld Reekie
Donald Smith’s multimedia dramatisation of Robert Burns’ Edinburgh days is a slick, atmospheric affair. Video sequences and fragments of live delivery combine to provide a shifting, restless picture of the Bard as he arrives in the capital of Enlightenment, keen to oversee publication of an Edinburgh edition of his poems and develop contacts in high society.
But Burns is drawn as surely to Edinburgh’s stinking, depraved back-alleys and drinking dens as he is to its drawing rooms. With publisher William Creech reluctant to cough up payment, poverty, desperation and despair take over as the poet discovers that art and creativity, like Edinburgh itself, have a dark side.
An excellent Gavin Paul effortlessly carries the show, providing a portrait of the heaven-taught ploughman that’s raw, punchy and a universe away from shortbread tins.
Scottish Storytelling Centre, 0131 556 9579, until 30 August, 7pm, £9 (£7)