Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review: BURNS, Edinburgh Playhouse

Review of the premiere of Burns at the Edinburgh Playhouse

Review: BURNS, Edinburgh Playhouse

Review: BURNS, Edinburgh Playhouse

Burns is a new musical written and composed by Trish Tindall. The concept is based on an idea by Michael Jackson and David Gest about the life and works of Robert Burns. Trish Tindall also acts as the narrator and onstage pianist for the show.

What if Robert Burns was alive in the modern world? Burns has been given the Six treatment and the history is brought to life in a modern way with catchy songs. At times, it tries almost too hard and the introduction of mobile phones and Whatsapp to the story of the bard can be a little bit cringeworthy and unnecessary.

Robert Burns is played by Elijah Aspinall who takes on a rockstar persona as he receives the same attention as modern-day boybands. Burns was a known womaniser but this is amplified in the production as he seems to be solely motivated by his ego. The show blurb states that he feels torn between his duties to his family and his philandering ways but this doesn't come across clearly and makes the character quite unlikeable.

There's a lot to enjoy in this production. The original songs are good as are the musical performances. It feels like this could be a really promising fringe production and as it only has a short debut run at the Edinburgh Playhouse, it is clear some things could be tweaked across a longer run. The idea of Burns trying to crack the American market is interesting as there is debate over whether to alter his Scots dialect but this is overshadowed slightly by a bizarre creative decision to make Burns a Michael Jackson superfan.

The core idea of Burns is good and the songs definitely give it a decent backbone. I found some of the narrative a little confusing and although my knowledge of Robert Burns' personal life isn't quite up to scratch, I found myself having to Google some of his backstory afterwards as it wasn't overly clear during the show.

This show is clearly a labour of love and the cast certainly give it their all. There is definitely the potential for something really good to come of this show, it just needs to work out a few of the storytelling kinks and decide whether they're looking for Burns to come across as a tortured genius or just plain arrogant.

National Youth Choir of Scotland Announce Tiffany Vong as Recipient of Womens Conducting F Photo
The National Youth Choir of Scotland is delighted to today announce the recipient of their Women's Conducting Fellowship, RCS graduate Tiffany Vong. 

Assembly Festival Releases Tickets For Over 100 Shows This Summer Photo
Assembly Festival, one of Edinburgh's leading Festival Fringe venues, has announced over 100 shows for its 2023 programme. The festival, which is housed year-round at Assembly Roxy, is returning to its familiar venues at Assembly Rooms, Assembly Hall, Assembly George Square and Gardens, and Assembly Checkpoint.

BroadwayWorld Scotland Editor to Join CATS panel Photo
The Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS) are organised annually and awarded by the theatre critics of Scotland to celebrate the best Scottish theatre achievements in the theatre year May–April.

Traverse Theatre Stages New Scottish Comedy, SEAN AND DARO FLAKE IT TIL THEY MAKE IT Photo
Looking for a way out of their humdrum lives in the outskirts of Glasgow, straight-laced Sean, fresh from dropping out of uni, and the gallus Daro, overflowing with charisma and business 'acumen', reckon they can be the dream team of frozen treats.

From This Author - Natalie O'Donoghue

Interview: Gareth Snook on bringing CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY to the Edinburgh PlayhouseInterview: Gareth Snook on bringing CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY to the Edinburgh Playhouse
March 21, 2023

The much-anticipated UK and Ireland tour of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – The Musical will open its gates at the Edinburgh Playhouse from 29th March to 15th April.

Review: WRITE-OFF, Oran Mor, GlasgowReview: WRITE-OFF, Oran Mor, Glasgow
March 13, 2023

Freddie is a gay man who writes gritty psychological thrillers and refuses to compromise his storytelling approach for the sake of representation or political correctness.

Interview: Linda McLean on Bringing Castle Lennox to Edinburgh LyceumInterview: Linda McLean on Bringing Castle Lennox to Edinburgh Lyceum
March 8, 2023

Linda McLean (Glory on Earth at The Lyceum) has written a play with songs (by Michael John McCarthy) about the strength, wit and resilience of those who were sent to Lennox Castle during a regime of segregation from the 1930s to the 1990s.

March 6, 2023

The Juliet Allotments are the most sought-after plots in Glasgow’s West End and constantly eyed by covetous property developers.

Review: CYPRUS AVENUE, Iron Theatre, GlasgowReview: CYPRUS AVENUE, Iron Theatre, Glasgow
March 4, 2023

Eric (David Hayman) is a Belfast Loyalist, still very much stuck in the past. Completely convinced, despite his family’s protestations, that his five week old granddaughter is in fact the Sinn Fein leader, Gerry Adams, Eric believes his Protestant cultural heritage is under siege. What can he do? He must act!