l FOOTBALL MUSICAL The Celtic Story Glasgow: Pavilion Theatre, Wed 29 Jul—Sat 29 Aug.
It’s a tense time for Celtic fans, as they impatiently await the arrival
of a new head coach. Meanwhile, the producers of the revamped The Celtic Story are also calling the hotlines and checking Teletext, in anticipation of a final update. It's a bid for topicality in the show, to which fans of the Hoops flocked in their thousands a decade ago. Then, the club was celebrating its centenary. Now, it has finally broken the stranglehold on the domestic scene which Old Firm rivals Rangers have held since 1989.
Even in victory, the Celtic way is to cloud glory in confusion and conflict. Fears have been voiced from the Parkhead hierarchy that the show's backing from Brian Dempsey — former board member and the club’s co-saviour in 1994, would somehow mean that the current owners would be shown in a less-than-favourable light.
'They seem to be nervous with the new material and I can't think why,’ insists co-writer and director
David MacLennan, formerly of Wildcat. ’Apart from anything else, the play is two hours long and one hour 55 minutes deals with the first 100 years' history of the club. So the last scene has a lot to cover, and the current management has a great deal to be proud of. They’ve built a new stadium, they’ve got 50,000 season-ticket holders, they've won the league. We’re not setting out to slag off anyone in this show.’
Setting the controversy aside, there will be music, dancing and singing a-plenty for those making their way to the Pavilion. ’There are about twenty numbers,
0n Old Firm ground: Dorothy Pa
I '4’. .. .. ul in Th
snatches from the terracing songs and a lot of original music, varying from the early, folk-influenced music when the immigrants were coming over from Donegal, to the dance-hall sounds — basically the songs which fit the period,’ states MacLennan, whose cast members include Dorothy Paul, Jimmy Logan and co-writer Dave
‘The one thing to be stressed which has been lost among the coverage is that this is simply entertaining and a hell of a lot of fun.’ A grand old team to have a play for. (Brian Donaldson)
SPECTACULAR Rhythms Of The Celts
Edinburgh Playhouse, Tue 4—Sat 15 Aug. .' i:
She's electric: Jane Burgess fiddles with the past
Don’t say it. Don't even think it; this spectacular show is not another Riverdance It is ineVitable that comparisons Will be made, as there are a few similarities, but these are definitely outweighed by the differences.
Rhythms Of The Celts represents the epic, BOOO-year journey of the Celtic people, which encompassed Eastern and Western Europe, as well as the New World, through music, dance and song, enhanced by spectacular scenery, costumes and pyrotechnics. French, Canadian and American branches of the culture are covered alongside the more obwous Scottish, Welsh and Irish facets, to reflect the true diversny of the Celts.
Although Rhythms Of The Celts is undoubtedly an entertaining experience, it aims to be much more. The history of the Celts has been mangled by the Hollywood machine, as illustrated by blockbuster films like Braveheart and Rob Roy, and the producers intend to set the record straight.
’lt brings history to the general public, making them aware of how interesting, diverse, creative and brave the Celts really were,’ explains electric fiddle player Jane Burgess, one of the show’s fifty-odd performers. ’lt’s a wonderful way of learning. It really touches the heart.’ Although famous episodes from the Celts' past are included in the show — such as the story of the Stone of Destiny and yes, William Wallace — they aren’t in the least bit romantiCised.
MUSIC director Tai Wyzgowski has fused the Old With the new: electric guitar, fiddle and keyboards are combined With traditional pipes and drums to make an unusual mixture, which works surprismgly well. The choreOgraphy is also a melange of styles, from tap and clog-dancmg to the more traditional Highland fling.
With narration by former Evening News editor Ian Nimmo connecting each of the glimpses of the past, Rhythms Of The Celts is a history lesson not to be forgotten.
Lowered voices in the lull before the storm . . .
WITH REAL COMBAT VETERANS set to appear at the Traverse during the Fringe (see preview, page 20), the Edinburgh Military Tattoo is undergoing a crisis of confidence. In the wake of swingeing Government defence budget cuts, leading Festival historian lain Crawford has criticised the British Army-run Tattoo for 'diluting' the pipes and drums and military drills with Honda Imps and Irish dancers. The Tattoo’s producer, Brigadier Melville Jameson has said he wants the event to be more populist. But the result, claims Crawford, is 'like a circus'.
MIND YOU, 2000 circus performers can’t be wrong . . . can they? With several major acts lined up for the Fringe — including the Moscow State Circus, Circus Ethiopia and the Circus Of Horrors — jugglers, tightrope walkers and clowns from all over the world have seized the opportunity to home in on Edinburgh, where they're holding the 21st European Juggling and Circus Convention. There will be a parade and free circus show on Princes Street Gardens on Tuesday 4 August, and at Meadowbank Sports Centre, a kids' show on Thursday 6 and a 'spectacular circus variety show' on Friday 7. Look out for a distinguished-looking fellow in a brigadier's uniform clutching a pile of contracts . . .
MEANWHILE IN GLASGOW, the Tron Theatre has entered its final stage of redevelopment. This month, another stage of the £45 million project is completed. New administration and production offices are now finished, and the new bar is due to open on Monday 10 August. Meanwhile, as the spotlight lingers on Edinburgh, the Tron's auditorium will close in August for the final phase of the work, which will see it reopen, much improved, next March. ’I’m confident that the Tron will be one of the highlights of the city Of Architecture next year,’ beams administrative director Neil Murray.
Send in the clowns? The Military Tattoo 23 Jul—6 Aug 1998 THE U8T71