Scotties (3 stars)


credit: Mihaela Bodlovic

A tale of lives lost and stories found

Muireann Kelly and Frances Poet's elegiac play is framed around the heartbreaking true story of the death of ten young Irish migrant boys who died in a bothy fire in Kirkintilloch, while trying to earn a meagre living picking potatoes.

Prodigiously talented Michael (Ryan Hunter) a Gaelic speaker, becomes obsessed with their story when working on a school history project, so much so that it starts to haunt his dreams.

However, it's not long before his research drives a wedge between his doting grandmother Grace (Anne Kidd) and his mother Morag (Mairi Morrison) whose already brittle relationship is pushed to the limit when family secrets connected to the tragedy spill out.

Fusing Scots, Irish and Gaelic language and spirited folk songs, there are some touching moments, not least in the affecting performances between Hunter and Kidd, wholly believable as loving, wise and kindred spirits despite the gap of two generations. They're both superb.

But it's bogged down a little with a languid pace, and some clumsy choreography. When the stories eventually resolve, though, the result is a sharp reminder of the resilience of humanity, and how the stories we share are more than simple bonding experiences, but rather how we're all rooted to the earth.

Scotties, Eden Court Inverness, until Sat 22 Sep; then touring.


A play that celebrates the languages of Scotland and Ireland, focusing on a young Glaswegian boy whose soul is awoken by the story of ten young Irish boys who died in a Scottish bothy fire in 1937.

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