Gillian Duffy’s comedy The Ghosting of Rabbie Burns is a total wee charmer of a show, more than helped along by two first rate actors in the central roles.
Heartbroken author Ariel Winters (Morna Young) takes herself to her aunt’s old cottage in Ayrshire to get over her cheating ex. As she celebrates Burns night alone, wishing that the right man would show up, she gets a visitation slightly different than she’d hoped for. The ghost of Rabbie Burns (James MacKenzie) appears to give her some dating advice – and boy does he know what he’s talking about, but Ariel has a few things to teach Rabbie – Tinder and modern day dating parlance to name just two.
A modern rom com, The Ghosting of Rabbie Burns also manages to weave in a raft of fascinating facts about the Ploughman Poet, the narrative perfectly enhanced by the inclusion of the brightest and best songs and poems of Burns. Both Young and Mackenzie do a fine job of showcasing the bard’s work: My Love is Like a Red Red Rose; Ae Fond Kiss; Charlie is my Darlin’ ; John Anderson, My Jo and of course, Auld Lang Syne (with some audience participation) are just beautiful.
For all the comedy, there’s poignancy and behind the laughs there’s a message of hope and optimism. There’s also the dawning realisation that the dynamics of dating and relationships have barely changed in 200+ years.
Scottish TV favourite James MacKenzie is ideally cast as the “rose-tinted idealist” Burns – physically epitomising our collective image of our national poet. With a cheeky glint in his eye and a deft comedic touch, he charms the audience from the moment he steps on stage. Morna Young is a perfectly pitched Ariel, thoroughly relatable she is also in possession of a gorgeous singing voice.
Small in scale but absolutely perfectly formed. An unexpected gem that really warms the heart.
29 JAN – Oran Mor, Glasgow
30 JAN – Barrfields Theatre, Largs,
31 JAN – Harbour Arts, Irvine
1 FEB – Cumbernauld Theatre,
2 FEB – Palace Theatre, Kilmarnock