Feb 7 2012 by Alison Anderson, Perthshire Advertiser Tuesday
THIS premiere at Glasgow’s Tron Theatre was billed as a show for children, yet the very mixed ages of its two sell-out shows reflected the age-less appeal of a delightful story performed by a stellar ‘cast’ of musicians with narrator, well-known actress Gerda Stevenson.
Basically, The Boy and the Bunnet narrated in Scots is a new folk tale inspired by Peter and the Wolf, in which traditional musical instruments played the parts of the human and animal characters in this heart-warming adventure of young Neil, the boy in the bunnet.
It is a ground-breaking project which was two years in the making and was made possible through Creative Scotland funding – money well spent considering how it attracted so many people and held them captive throughout its 45-minute performance as part of the Celtic Connections festival.
The imagery created through Gerda’s narrative and the impeccably-played instruments was simply beautiful as we shared Neil’s adventure when he ventured from the seaside home he shared with his granny to follow the magnificent stag into the dark, scary woods.
Best-selling author James Robertson, who lives just over the Perthshire border in Angus, wrote the words, and James Ross from Wick composed the music.
The seven-strong line-up of musicians included Perthshire’s Patsy Reid on fiddle which took the role of Neil, its jaunty melody perfectly painting the picture of this happy wee boy.
Creating scenes of the landscape was Signy Jakobsdottir’s amazing percussion, and other musicians telling the story were James Ross (piano), Fraser Fifield (pipes and whistle), Corrina Hewat (clarsach, Neil Johnstone (cello) and Angus Lyon (accordion).
The smiles on the musicians faces during and after the performance clearly indicated their enjoyment of being part of this delightful project. The logistics of getting together this quality ensemble for future performances may be a challenge, but The Boy and the Bunnet certainly deserves to be performed around the country.
l CELTIC Connections is celebrating a bumper year after the 19th festival drew to a close on Sunday.
Organisers reported that attendance over the 18 days had reached over 100,000 and gross ticket sales topped £1.1 million for the fifth year running.
This was the sixth year that the festival has been supported by its principal sponsor ScottishPower.
Over the 18 days 2100 artists from around the globe descended on Glasgow and music fans attended approximately 300 concerts, ceilidhs, talks, free events, late night sessions and workshops in 20 venues.
Donald Shaw, Celtic Connections artistic director, said: “We’re delighted this year’s Celtic Connections has been such a success.
“It’s been an honour to be able to bring some of the world’s greatest folk, roots and traditional musicians to Glasgow. I think we’ve witnessed some very special performances in our 19th year.”