Musicals & Opera: Just Like the Movies

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Edinburgh girl Mary (Lucy Duffy) has conquered every style of dance she’s tackled. She needs a new challenge and Scottish Country Dancing could be it.

Greenside @ Infirmary Street (Venue 236)


Childhood sweetheart Andrew isn’t keen, though – he’d rather she joined him in a bag of chips.

Undeterred, Mary joins the Leith dance school and is soon finding it’s not as easy as she expected. But she gets better and becomes the resident choreographer, working with school owner Morag (Jacqueline Hannan), who dreams of a big break. That looks to be coming when they’re invited to audition for Britain’s Got Talent, but is jazzing up the old moves with sparkly wigs and pop tunes the way to go?

There’s plenty to like in this production from Fife’s Kingdom Theatre. It’s an original show peopled with recognisable Scots rather than the tartan tat versions we’re so often fed. The young and young-at-heart cast put in charming performances – Sean Mitchell’s TV producer is a standout – and the new songs by Willie Logan and the show’s writer, John Murray, if not immediately catchy, are delivered with conviction.

There’s one stone-cold classic in there, Mary’s Prayer, and while it’s nicely performed by Michael McLean’s Andrew, it jars against the original material. If this show is developed further, swapping it out for another new tune might not be a bad idea. And the title should be far more relevant to the show; at the moment it’s just a matter of characters occasionally mentioning that something is, or isn’t, just like the movies.

The dancing is fun, even if you’re not a particular fan of the form, and by the end the audience was clapping away merrily alongside the formidable feet of the girls.

While feeling far from fully formed, there’s a rough charm to this show that carries it along.

Until 26 August. Today 7.35pm.