City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Jacobite Country Review

By John Glen - Posted on 07 August 2010

Show details
Dogstar Theatre Company
Running time: 
Matthew Zajac (Director), Henry Adam (Writer), Ulla Karlsson (Set & Costume design), Iain MacDonald (Assistant Director)
Sarah Haworth (Haggis McSporran), Fiona Morrison (Craitur Face), Mairi Morrison (Eddy, Vernon, Granny), Annie Grace (Uncle Angus)

Scotland has always felt more of an outsider in the political mire that is Westminster. Where we fit in is a question being asked on both sides of the border. It’s this sense of not belonging which is explored in Fringe First winner, Henry Adam’s new play Jacobite Country.

Haggis McSporran, an auxiliary nurse, is a bitter nationalist. His aim: to exploit his views for a shot at stand-up fame. His relationships, or lack of, are beginning to make his life difficult as he is surrounded by people he feels hold him back. Everything changes when he discovers his true place in the hospital hierarchy.

Ulla Karlsson’s set of broken padded walls, unsettling stag heads and a solitary ladder, combined with Adam’s script gives an edgy perception of the Scottish mentality. Almost entirely set inside a mental institution, it portrays Scottish identity as an illness which is holding us back.

The action is played at a frantically fun pace, with characters as mad as they are likeable, this is a Scottish One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest without the sanity. The only downside is a script that gets lost amongst the madness, leaving the audience at times a bit perplexed. That aside, if you’re up for a bit of self-deprecation then this is certainly worth seeing. Scotland’s place in UK politics may be confusing but there is no question that The Fringe is where Jacobite Country firmly belongs.

Show run: 7-30 August, 3.50pm

I think that the people that have commented here are largely unfair about the play and haven't understood it, it is not pretentious in the slightest, and i think the reason you may think that the characters and plotline are strange is because the characters are supposed to be mentally ill. The acting is simply brilliant and there is a lot of very funny moments. I think that this would be better billed as a play rather than a comedy because it deals with an intriguing story which is funny but not to the expectations of someone wanting a hilarious time. The plot is complex because it deals with a lot of dreams and confusions with reality but it is what you would expect when it involves a couple of drugged up mental patients. The themes conveyed are Scottish nationalism and insanity and leaves you thinking about it a lot afterwards. I enjoyed the live music, some hilarious lines, and amazing acting. Although Jacobite Country is very good, i think Dogstars other works have been absolute masterpieces, including the 'Tailor of Inverness'- which won best actor award, and best solo show last year at the fringe- 'Seven Ages', 'A Heretics Tale' etc and i believe that this theatre company deserves more recognition and support because it has given so much to the Scottish arts and told so many entertaining and moving stories.

I saw this at its premiere in Inverness, see original review below. Is it just me or is this just pretentious nonsense. Yeah we all know Scotland is full of overtly nationalistic gadgies, and the Highlands has more than it’s fair share, but this, well I just don’t get it and as I expected, the arty crowd will read far more into it than it deserves. It just wasn’t funny or thought provoking.

"Can’t believe how bad this was given the previous work by Dogstar. Not sure if it was meant to be funny but it wasn’t, was it a non comical farce? Laugh ! Thought I’d never start. Was it supposed to make me think, if so the only thoughts I had were how to get out of the theatre without embarrassing the cast. Felt a bit like a primary school production of an unknown pantomime. If it’s supposed to be some kind of reflection of, or metaphor for “The Highlands” then it missed the mark completely. If I’d gone to watch my kids perform this I’d have definitely advised them to seriously consider finding some other hobby. Having said all that it’ll probably go on to win loads of arty awards. Emperors Clothes methinks."

Possibly the worst thing I have ever seen in my life. No....... I take that back. The worst thing I have ever seen in this life, previous lives and all futures lives.