The Famous Spiegeltent takes on a different atmosphere in daylight. Gone is the night club cabaret vibe and instead there is the quieter magic of a mirrored circus tent with a wooden floor instead of sawdust. It is the venue for the delightful children’s show The Boy and the Bunnet, that has been written by author and proponent of the Scots language, James Robertson, with music composed by traditional Scots musician, James Ross.
The work is loosely based on Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, a composition that tells a story with orchestral instruments to represent the characters and here we have the fiddle as Neil, the cello as Granny, the whistle as the cat, bells as the burn, the pipes as the stag, the clarsach as the seal, the accordion as the crow and the piano with percussion as the urisk, a forest monster, all played with aplomb by the band of talented musicians. The simple text written in Scots is brought to life and delivered with beautiful clarity by acclaimed Scottish actor Gerda Stevenson who dons the big blue bunnet with the red tourie during the telling.
The story is about Neil, a boy who lives in a wee white house near the sea with his Granny and their grey cat. One day he wanders too far into the woods, falls and hurts his foot and finds he is lost. His neighbour the crow and a stag bury their differences and help Neil by using his bunnet to let his Granny know where he is and, they have a happy ending with bandages, broth and cat and granny dancing.
A nicely animated version of the story done by John McGeoch with pleasing illustrations by Jojo Norris from the delightful book that is companion to the performance is projected simultaneously throughout this tale within a tale. At the end, Gerda invites wee ones (weans) up front to sing the two songs, The Selkie’s Sang and The Stag’s Mairch, whose lyrics feature in the show’s programme along with word games and a quiz. This gentle concert come play come animated film is a fine way to expose the vibrant Scots language to a wider audience.
The Boy and the Bunnet premiered at Celtic Connections in February 2012. Its aim is to introduce children to the Scots language and traditional Scots music in a fun and stimulating way. It is part of a wider project which has also seen publication of a book and CD, the development of a Gaelic version (Balach na Bonaid) and creation of educational materials to enable teachers to bring it into the classroom. Big Sky is a publisher of books and music, and producer of events. It was launched in August 2011 is based in the Highlands.
Times: Monday 6 August to Sunday 19 August (not 13th), 3.30pm