Rantin (3 stars)

Charming mix of storytelling and folk song from Kieran Hurley

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Rantin

Photo: Eoin Carey

Theatremakers Kieran Hurley and Julia Taudevin alongside musicians Drew Wright (aka Wounded Knee) and Gav Prentice (one half of Over the Wall) come together in this informal mix of storytelling and song to create a patchwork impression of contemporary Scotland.

On a stage that recreates a cosy living room, the foursome move between folk songs and stories of everyday people in Scotland, painting a rich, textured picture of humanity. There’s the tale of Howard, flying over the Atlantic to discover his Scottish roots; Miriam a refugee on the bus to her first night of a new cleaning job; and MacPherson who on one drunken night finds himself conversing with what might or might not be a selkie.

There are several inspired moments of writing: one which sticks in the mind is of a young, frustrated checkout girl, recalling a history lesson about the Luddites and juxtaposing their plight with her despair at the encroachment of automatic check outs. It’s a beautifully funny monologue that captures a sense of fiery youth in the context of current politics.

In someone else’s hands Rantin could have slipped into something rather cloy but Hurley and co succeed in creating a performance that is sensitive and engaging. At times it feels a little contrived, with characters undergoing predictable story arcs, but there’s heaps of charm to compensate. It makes sense that Rantin is touring to Scotland’s smaller towns and venues: it is peppered with tales from all corners of the country and will likely enchant an equally diverse range of theatre-goers.

Rantin - in rehearsal

Rantin

Kieran Hurley's combination of living room gathering, play and gig stitches together a set of stories into a patchwork of Scottish folk tradition.

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