My Doric Diary

Apr 13 2022 | By More

★★★☆☆     Affa fine

Traverse Theatre: Tuesday 12 – Saturday 16 April 2022
Review by Hugh Simpson

A breezy, charming musical tale of family, time travel and the cultural cringe, the final offering in this season of A Play, A Pie and A Pint at the Traverse is My Doric Diary by Aye Tunes! (Katie Barnett and Jamie Siggens).

Daisy, a teenager from Fraserburgh, lives a sheltered life with her strait-laced grandmother. On New Year’s Eve 2010, she is given the chance to find out more about the mother who died the night Daisy was born seventeen years previously.

Katie Barnett and Jamie Siggens. Pic: Jonny Scott

This is billed as ‘a Doric jukebox musical’, which is exactly what is delivered. The tunes are all familiar party fare, but the words may not all be instantly recognisable, with the likes of Cher and Shania Twain given a distinctly North-East of Scotland spin.

Over a longer period this might not work so well – you do start to wonder why some words have been altered and not others, and notice that the rhymes have been affected – but over this short a distance it is refreshing.

The rest of the script is similarly told in a well-judged Doric that is by turns urgent and lyrical, and thoroughly accessible. Barnett’s performance as the teenaged Daisy is full of life, and there is clever variation in her depiction of the other characters.

However, there is something decidedly sketchy about the way the plot develops. The time-travel element is not sufficiently thought through, with much of the story depending too much on sentiment, wish-fulfilment and references to The Wizard Of Oz.

emotional weight

Jukebox musicals do tend to rely on their songs to carry the emotional weight of the story, or for an easy get-out; there is no doubt that Arlen and Harburg’s Over The Rainbow has meant a great deal to many people, and it is left to do a great deal of the heavy lifting at the climax.

Nevertheless, the numbers are expertly sung by Barnett, with excellent musical backing from Siggens and Gavin Whitworth. Douglas Irvine’s direction is beautifully paced, Andy Cowen’s sound design is exemplary and Jonny Scott’s design is an object lesson in effective minimalism. Chris Reilly’s lighting is also wonderfully understated, except when called upon to add an element of disco bling.

The production never quite lives up to its opening few minutes, whose sprightly energy is dissipated a little by the end. However, for sheer enjoyment – not to mention the unshowy way it makes important points about politics, class and linguistic justice – this scores highly.

Running time: 50 minutes (no interval)
Traverse Theatre, 10 Cambridge St, EH1 2ED
Tuesday 12 – Saturday 16 April 2022
Daily at 1.00 pm
Information and tickets: Book here.

Katie Barnett, Jamie Siggens and Gavin Whitworth. Pic: Jonny Scott


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