MAIM (4 stars)


credit: Mihaela Bodlovic

Gaelic performance fighting for the salvation of Scotland's ancient language

From Theatre Gu Leòr and the Scottish Electronica band WHYTE, MAIM is a distinctive piece of protest theatre, proclaiming the ever-accelerating crisis that Gaelic speakers are facing as their language becomes marginalised in the twenty-first century. Combining movement, verbatim text, script and movement, MAIM is a thought-provoking performance that holds the English language accountable for its catastrophic effect on traditional cultures.

English subtitles are projected on screens on either side of the set, yet the use of repetition in the script and score cleverly allows English speaking audiences to follow the spoken text, so that the opportunity is given to experience the flow and poetry of the language. Muireann Kelly's direction focuses on physicality, as the performance is interspersed with captivating sequences that reflect the sparse tendrils on which Gaelic hangs onto existence in contemporary Scotland. This focus on the body also hones in on the idea that Gaelic is a part of the soul of Scottish culture, and so as it subsides, so does this country's very identity.

The script is atmospheric and bleak, and it's non-linear structure becomes confusing at times. Nonetheless, the performers, Elspeth Turner, Evie Waddell and Alasdair C. Whyte, perform every line with exquisite style, drawing the audience in to the sheer desperation of the situation that affects each of them, their children, and us, directly.

Determined and meaningful, while atmospheric and captivating, MAIM is a show with refreshing creativity and pertinent importance to Scotland's cultural climate.

Reviewed at Tron Theatre, Glasgow. Now touring.


Meaning 'panic' in Gàidhlig, this collaboration between Theatre Gu Leòr and the band WHYTE explores the crisis facing both land and language through a hybrid of live music, dance, spoken word and video.

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