Scottish Storytelling Centre, Fri 23 & Sat 24, Fri 30 & Sat 31 Jan
Scotland’s national poet penned some ripping yarns in his time. But getting your head, and your tongue, around the language of Robert Burns isn’t always easy – especially when you’re wee. Actor, writer and director, Andy Cannon is well versed in the work of the Scottish bard, having tackled his Tam O’Shanter four years ago to great acclaim.
Best known as one half of the wonderful Wee Stories theatre company, Cannon has teamed up with folk musician Wendy Weatherby to present Oor Rabbie, an hour of interactive storytelling theatre. ‘For me, Rabbie Burns is a storyteller first and foremost,’ says Cannon. ‘And I think the fact that he tells such good stories in his poems is the reason they lend themselves to theatre. You’re not taking a poem and wondering how an audience is going to relate to it or how children are going to connect with it.’
Aimed at ages 8–adult, the show features a number of Burns’ poems, with a splash of background info. And as far as Cannon is concerned, the stories are ideal for younger audiences. ‘Rabbie’s work is very child-friendly,’ he says. ‘There’s not a child around who doesn’t feel sorry for the mouse that’s chucked out of his home in To a Mouse. And even the more adult poems like Tam O’Shanter or Holy Willie’s Prayer, are great stories that you find yourself getting drawn into.’
Wee Stories are known for their clear, captivating performance style – something Cannon has carried over into his project with Weatherby. ‘The first thing we do in Wee Stories is entertain ourselves, and that’s true for Wendy and I too,’ he says. ‘I love doing Rabbie Burns and because we want children in the audience, we’ve made sure the show is accessible and entertaining for them.’