This Is Ceilidh

Assembly George Square Gardens

From 04 August 2014 to 24 August 2014

Rating: ***

Review by Seth Ewin

Now Glasgow Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony may have been a little too much for some, but there is a way of celebrating Scottish culture in a way that's modern and fun, and you will find it at the Assembly's Spiegeltent in George Square. For those who found Irn-Bru, Nessie and John Barrowman's tartan suit too twee, This Is Ceildh is for you.

Incidentally if you did enjoy the Opening Ceremony then you will love This Is Ceilidh. It is a lively introduction to ceilidh dancing which combines some great Scottish folk music with something else the Scots are good at: telling a story.

Gary Cross with comedy false antlers atop his heid and Ewan Donald in tight tartan tights, "Donald where's yer troosers?", are the hosts. They are both loud, silly and clearly there to have a good night. The audience is quickly segregated into MacPhersons and Campbells, two waring clans by their wrist bands.

There's a Romeo and Juliet storyline involving audience members, kept simple enough that even those who've had a few drams can follow. The gallus hosts with their fierce energy keep the party alive and cleverly weave dances into the tartan tale.

The round set-up of the Spiegeltent really lends itself to this kind of immersive theatrical experience and there is a real sense of people being sucked into the whirlpool of dancers. There is quite literally no corner to hide in, not that anyone in the audience seems to shy away from joining in.

The music comes from all angles and they keep things mixed up with a great band, duelling pipers, singers and even a Scots rapper (Werd (SOS)). Performers appear at different sides of the dancefloor and keep the audience on their toes. There's never a dull moment, even if the story does get subsumed by the dancing.

It is a certainly fun way to end a night at the Fringe if you want something Scottish that isn't political. Be warned though: ceilidhing is very energetic, aggressive (arm bruising is common) and it can even become highly addictive for some.