My Doric Diary

Oct 5 2023 | By More

★★★★☆     Beautifully emotional

The Studio: Wed 4/Thurs 5 Oct 2023
Review by Allan Wilson

My Doric Diary by Aye Tunes! is a beautifully emotional tale of the importance of family connection, roots and memories brought together through music, a love of the Doric tongue and time travel.

The show has clearly been a labour of love for its writer, Fraserburgh-born actor and singer Katie Barnett, and musical supervisor, her husband, the actor and musician James Siggens. They demonstrate their passion for the project with the energy and care that is brought to the current production.

Katie Barnett in My Doric Diary. Pic: Ross Johnston/Newsline Media

“This is my story!” proudly declares teenage Daisy, brought to vivid life by Barnett, though she is a little worried about having to create voices for the other characters in the play. It is December 31st, 2010 and Daisy wants to begin the celebration of her 17th birthday on New Year’s Day by spending the evening at the Hogmanay Disco in the Fraserburgh Leisure Centre.

Her strict Grandmother (or ‘Grunny’, as Daisy prefers to call her, revealing her passion for Doric), who has raised Daisy from birth, refuses to let her go, insisting that they follow family tradition by watching The Wizard of Oz on video.

In frustration, Daisy retreats to her room to text her best friend – but is transported back in time to the 1993 Hogmanay disco in the Leisure Centre through a mysterious cassette recorder with Doric versions of pop song, allowing her to make a connection with her mother, who sang the songs in 1993.

power and emotion

The songs are at the heart of the show, which began life as a very popular series of Tic Tok videos of Doric covers of classic pop songs, created and performed by Barnett and Siggens during the Covid lockdown. They are beautifully delivered with power and emotion by Barnett, here supported by Andy Manning on keyboard and Scott Cunningham on guitars.

It is easy to see the Tik Tok original’s appeal, as Barnett has skilfully altered the words of songs such as Cher’s If I Could Turn Back Time, Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance with Somebody and Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide, adding local phrasing, but keeping them accessible to those unfamiliar with the Doric.

Katie Barnett in My Doric Diary, with Andy Manning and Scott Cunningham. Pic: Ross Johnston/Newsline Media

The current tour, off around the tiny stages of Scotland’s village halls, necessitates something of a scaling down from its first outing as part of the A Play, A Pie and a Pint 2022 season, when it toured to Glasgow, Edinburgh’s Traverse (★★★☆☆ Affa fine) and Aberdeen.

Consequently Manning and Cunningham temporarily abandon their instruments to take on stage hand duties as they transform Fraser Lappin’s simple, but very effective set from a bedroom to a disco. James Siggens’s sound design is always appropriate, reflecting the progress of the story, while Lappin’s lighting works particularly well for the time travel and disco scenes.

Directed by Dougie Irvine, My Doric Diary is a lovely little play, providing a new take on familiar songs, skilfully brought to life by a very talented performer in Barnett, along with a particularly moving ending, as Daisy’s brief connection with her mother leads to a reconciliation and new relationship with her grandmother.

Running time: 45 minutes (no interval)
The Studio,
Wednesday 4/Thursday 5 October 2023
Evenings: 7.30pm.
Tickets and details: Book here.


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