Mairi Campbell has enjoyed brilliant reviews after premiering her theatre show Mairi Campbell: Pulse at Celtic Connections 2016. Mairi performed her new one-woman show at the Tron Theatre on Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th January during the prestigious Showcase Scotland event at Celtic Connections.
In Pulse, Mairi sings, acts, plays and dances the story of her musical homecoming and journey of the heart. Mairi weaves live viola, voice, animation, movement and storytelling with tracks from her latest groundbreaking album Pulse. The show, which is directed and co-devised by Kath Burlinson, begins with Mairi feeling creatively stultified by her classical training at the Guildhall School of Music in London. She then travels to Mexico and Cape Breton before returning to Scotland to take up her bow in the traditional music scene. In the background is her love story with her husband and musical collaborator Dave Francis, who teaches her to play her first tune by ear.
Herald reviewer Mary Brennan was in the audience and gave Pulse four stars and a glorious write-up. “So, in the here and now, on a stage bare but for a rough-hewn pendulum – its flat stone culled from her family’s croft – Campbell opens her throat in a spirit of belonging that is ancient and modern, and life affirming for all of us,” Brennan wrote.
Joe Peach of the West Highland Free Press also thoroughly enjoyed the show. He wrote: “The overarching way in which she has used her understanding of the Scottish folk scene, music, and her own life, in the creation of Pulse, makes it unique. Campbell is at the forefront of this notion of combining art forms, at least in the folk world, developing what a show or gig can be. And far from being irrelevant to the rest of the Celtic Connections line-up, Pulse — to my mind at least — is also at the heart of it all.”
There was also brilliant feedback from Celtic Music Radio and from audiences on Twitter and Facebook. “Definitely a Celtic Connections highlight @TronTheatre Pulse by @mairimusic was amazing!” tweeted Rachel Baker.
“I daresay you’ll have had loads of positive responses to Pulse. I’d just like to add mine: I really, really loved it. It felt like work that has deep cultural significance: intensely personal and yet speaking to us all about the issues of belonging and tradition and spirit. So important for these times. I hope it continues to go down a storm!” Dougie Strang emailed.
“Well that happened!” wrote Mairi in her February newsletter. “When you throw your whole self at something, and with the right support, it’s amazing what can occur. Pulse premiered at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow for Celtic Connections. I felt great doing it, the response was mighty and the reviews were extremely positive. We’ve also just won a Made in Scotland grant to support a run at the Fringe, so it’s all systems go for Pulse!”
Mairi will now perform Pulse during Edinburgh’s spring TradFest, at the Scottish Storytelling Centre on 7 May, as well as in a three-week run during the Fringe. Book tickets for TradFest here