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Saturday, 02 August 2014

Moll gives the nod to celeb wannabes

IN A hilariously inventive new version of the literary classic, Moll Flanders, London theatre company Brute Farce’s versatile cast breathes life into a rambunctious rabble of prostitutes and pickpockets, prisoners, perverts and peers.

KC ents 21 May
An inventive new version of the literary classic Moll Flanders can be seen at Langholm’s Buccleuch Centre next Tuesday

Armed with a simple set and a few props, along with serious amounts of cross-dressing, they bring Daniel Defoe’s England garishly to life.

While maintaining period language and atmosphere that will please the purists, this is a pared-down, breathlessly physical production that is shot through with a contemporary soundtrack and a knowingly anachronistic tone.

First appearing in 1722, Moll Flanders is the English novel’s first leading female character but 300 years later her obsession with social mobility, trading her looks and guile for advancement through marriage, invites clear parallels with the current fascination with celebrity, vanity and the WAG phenomenon.

With large helpings of modern mayhem and a generous sprinkling of satire, this show is a melting-pot of styles which bubbles at a relentless pace, spitting with biting wit and caustic humour.

From the dingy recesses of Newgate prison, through marriage and prostitution to her final ‘penance’ in the plantations of Virginia, Moll’s remarkable misadventures weave a hilarious and compelling tapestry of incest, bigamy and crime.

The play comes to the Buccleuch Centre in Langholm, in association with Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival, next Tuesday at 7.30pm. Suitable for audiences from age 12.

Tickets are £10, £8 concessions. To book, ring 013873 81196 or go to www.buccleuchcentre.com

Two major talks on the life and death of Robert Burns are being held later this month in Dumfries as part of the Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival.

Alexander Goudie’s famous paintings of Tam o’Shanter and Burns’ vision in the epic poem are tackled by Professor Alan Riach, chair of Scottish literature at Glasgow University.

His talk, ‘Let caution be damn’d: Robert Burns, Alexander Goudie and Tam o’ Shanter,’ will use high-definition digital images of the paintings.

Rab Wilson, Robert Burns Writing Fellow in Dumfries and Galloway and the festival’s literary convener, said: “Goudie’s paintings amount to one of the greatest Scottish works of interpretation and collaboration between an artist and a poet. This is a literary and visual experience not to be missed by Burns’ enthusiast and scholar alike.”

Professor Riach’s talk is in the main lecture theatre, Rutherford McCowan Building, the Crichton, on May 26 at 7pm.

Professor Douglas Dunn, arguably Scotland’s greatest living poet and previous winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year and the Hawthornden Prize, will give a talk on ‘The uniqueness of Robert Burns – why was the national bard’s work so original? What made him unlike any previous nationally-renowned poet?’

The talk is at the Brigend Theatre on May 29 at 7.30pm.

Tickets are available from VisitScotland, 64 Whitesands, Dumfries, 01387 245566 or go to www.dgartsfestival.org.uk

The team behind The Original Bicycle Festival currently running in Dumfries and Galloway has commissioned a short play to celebrate the life and heritage of Kirkpatrick Macmillan, the Dumfriesshire blacksmith who invented the pedal bicycle.

The Devil on Wheels, written by Jules Horne and directed by Kate Nelson, is an accessible and witty monologue that tells Macmillan’s story and captures the sporting passion and spirit of his adventures.

The production, starring Fraser Boyle, a graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, centres on Macmillan’s appearance in a Glasgow court where he was charged with dangerous driving and knocking down a young girl while riding his new pedal bicycle through the Gorbals in 1842.

Kirkpatrick (or Pate as he was nicknamed) presents his defence to the charge and, in particular, the story of his invention and perilous two-day and 68-mile journey to Glasgow from Keir Mill in Dumfries and Galloway.

The play is performed this Saturday and Sunday at Drumlanrig Castle, Thornhill at noon, 1pm and 2pm and is free. No need to book. For more information ring 01848 600283.

The world premiere of Of a’ the Airts – Robert Burns, the Dumfries Years is being performed tomorrow at the Theatre Royal in Dumfries.

Of a’ the Airts is written and produced by award winning Moniaive writer Hugh Taylor.

The music is being provided by Rod Patterson, Lionel McLelland and Gill Bowman, three of Scotland’s leading exponents of Burns’ music.

Entering into the lease of Ellisland on May 25, 1788 marked Burns’ move from his native Ayrshire to Dumfries and the beginning of his most prolific period.

This specially-commissioned production looks at the achievements and the highs and lows of his last eight years.

Tickets cost £12 and the performance starts at 8pm. To book ring 01387 245566 or go to www.dgartsfestival.org.uk

St Michael and All Angels, Arthuret parish church in Longtown, celebrates its 400th anniversary this year. Over the next few months various events are taking place to celebrate.

Tomorrow the Border Strathspey and Reel Society will give a concert in Longtown community centre at 7.30pm. Tickets £6 on the door.

On June 14 there will be a Songs of Praise in the church, to which everyone will be welcome. On July 3, 4 and 5 there will be a flower festival to celebrate the joining of the Thistle and the Rose.

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