REVIEW: Rabbie The Man – The Shed, Shawlands, Glasgow

Now in its second year, Tram Direct’s Rabbie The Man is The Shed’s alternative Burns’ Night, and it aims to put the man behind the annual revelries firmly at centre stage.

Revered from Tokyo to Moscow, every year there are celebrations to the great man on the 25th January the world over. However, Burns is a man of many contradictions, inspiration to liberal thinkers and socialists, ploughman poet and society darling, serial philanderer as well as loving and devoted husband, Burns means many things to many people.

Most of the elements that those familiar with the traditional celebrations are all here in Rabbie The Man: The Selkirk Grace; The Toast to the Lassies; The Immortal Memory, there’s even haggis, but are entertainingly woven through with a dramatised biography of the life of The Bard. Isobel Barrett’s script manages to present a healthily balanced portrait of a man who attracts the undiminished adulation of a nation. Burns is charismatically played by Colin McGowan who delivers a well-judged performance of this complex and often conflicted man and the evening is rounded out by songs, poetry and reflection: Ae Fond Kiss and A Red, Red Rose are beautifully sung by Gill Gilmour, a spirited rendition of Holy Wullie’s Prayer is given by Graeme Dallas and a heartfelt and eloquent Immortal Memory by David Sturgeon.

For those who want a slightly different take on the traditional Burns supper.