The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart fuses karaoke with ceilidh music
David Greig play pays homage to Borders legend in pub setting
The legend of the ‘teind’ or tribute paid by the fairy folk to the Devil every seven years is as old as the Southern Uplands and recounted in numerous Scottish Border Ballads, including the eerie ‘Tam Lin’. Playwright David Greig here pays homage to the legend with his own Border Ballad, which is shot through with contemporary cultural references to The X Factor, Kylie Minogue and Katy Perry and fuses karaoke with ceilidh music.
The story revolves around Madeleine Worrall’s prim academic, who wanders off into the snow one midwinter’s night and ends up in the embrace of Satan himself (a laconic Dave McKay). This simple premise is greatly enhanced by the mix of contemporary and traditional influences in the text and its surrounding atmospherics. Greig’s witty, irreverent, often bawdy rhyming couplets are delivered with elegance by the five-strong ensemble whose energetic playing of flutes, whistles, fiddle and guitars provides a wonderfully festive backdrop to the action.
While one or two of the performances are a little rough-edged and the story itself rather anti-climactic, but these gripes fade to insignificance against the overall experience of seeing this dynamic, amusing romp in an authentic pub setting.
Ghillie Dhu, Edinburgh, Mon 21 & Tue 22 Feb, then touring. Seen at Owen’s Bar, Coatbridge, Fri 11 Feb