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A Brief History of Scotland - We Done Loads!
Published on Saturday, 11 August 2012
3

3 stars

Sweet Grassmarket (venue website)
Theatre
2-17, 19-24 Aug, 5:00pm-5:50pm
Reviewed by Brianne Moore

 Recommended for age 16+ only.

Scotland is best known for kilts, whisky, bagpipes, and golf (incidentally, none of those things was actually invented here), but there's a lot more to the rich history and culture of this country. We're entertainingly reminded of some of Scotland's accomplishments through the ages in the lighthearted A Brief History of Scotland – We Done Loads!

Starting with Genesis (have you noticed we're all in 'Eden'-burgh?) and going all the way up to Andy Murray's Wimbledon loss and Olympics gold, the show trips nimbly along through the ages, led by Sean Connery (I suspect it’s not the real one) narrating as God. The show amusingly gives biblical stories a Scottish twist – Eve tempts Adam with an apple pie and cider; Cain and Abel are squabbling football fans – and continues at a refreshingly brisk pace through Viking invasions, the struggles between Mary of Scotland and Elizabeth I, Robert Burns, and the invention of Irn Bru.

They aren't breaking new ground on comedy: all the expected jokes about bad food, terrible weather, and Braveheart are there. But each segment is liberally peppered with actual historical factoids, so you do, in fact, learn something if you're paying attention. The closest the show comes to any seriousness is the political stance that seems to be made during a mock debate over Scottish independence, but since it's all wrapped up in some silliness about the Loch Ness Monster, the mood stays suitably light.

The humour's not all clean or particularly PC – there are at least two jokes about preteen pregnancy and, at one point, no less than three bare bums on show. So if you're sensitive to that sort of thing, you may want to steer clear. But if you're looking for some light entertainment with a side helping of history, this could be the play for you.

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These are archived reviews of shows from Edinburgh 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

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