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.

Edinburgh Science Festival 2023 Kicks Off This Weekend Photo
Edinburgh Science Festival is setting down its roots in the city today, as the 2023 edition of the Festival kicks off on Saturday, 1 April. This year's theme - Let's Experiment - will see Edinburgh transformed into a living laboratory, with a jam-packed programme of hands-on science for people of all ages at 31 venues across the city. 

KATHY AND STELLA SOLVE A MURDER! Will Return to Underbelly at the Edinburgh Fringe Photo
A new expanded version of Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder!, the sell-out smash-hit of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2022, will return this year for a four week run at Underbelly at the Edinburgh Fringe from 2 - 27 August before touring to Bristol Old Vic from 13 - 30 September and HOME Manchester from 5 - 21 October.

The Pleasance Theatre Trust Present Giant Programme of Theatre and Comedy For Second Fring Photo
The second Edinburgh Fringe announcement for the Pleasance Theatre Trust is a whopper with returning award-winning acts, amazing newcomers, European sensations, shows with fun for all the family and political chatterings.

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. 

From This Author - Natalie O'Donoghue

Monkey Barrel Comedy Announces the First Release of Tickets to its Fringe 2023 ProgrammeMonkey Barrel Comedy Announces the First Release of Tickets to its Fringe 2023 Programme
March 29, 2023

Fresh from their stand-out 2022 programme, the award-winning Edinburgh comedy club welcomes some new faces, some familiar favourites, and its pick of the best acts from the Scottish circuit.

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.