Theatre review: Rantin

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THE term rant can be defined as either speaking or writing in a violent or angry manner or Scottish slang for frolic or an energetic dance or tune.

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Rantin, 'National Theatre of Scotland. Picture: comp

Rantin, 'National Theatre of Scotland. Picture: comp

In his new production, Scottish writer Keiran Hurley takes these two meanings and explores the idea of national identity within a contemporary Scotland, with classical folk traditions added in.

Originally part of The Autures project, a collaboration between The Arches and The National Theatre of Scotland for the 2013 Behaviour festival, Rantin is half-way through its tour across Scotland.

Part-play, part-traditional Scottish ceilidh, Hurley fuses live music and various Scottish personalities to present a portrait of the current state of the nation. Focusing more towards the traditional storytelling side, rather than the dancing part, the idea of cramming multiple Scottish characters living within today’s society in just 90 minutes presents something that’s both surprisingly unique and enticing.

For such short fragments to allow us to get to know these characters, the cast, Hurley, Gav Prentice, Julia Taudevin and Drew Wright, present and deliver them in a way that gives them a real warmth. A particular standout character is Gregor, a young boy on a ferry from Stornaway, who’s to study sociology and history of art at Glasgow University.

Added with the musical accompaniment, performed by Prentice and Wright, mixing both familiar Scottish folk tunes and their very own material, it stands strong enough to make for a notable evening in itself.

All added with the set of a makeshift living room, the audience are welcomed with friendly nods and waves from the cast, as they jam along to jaunty tunes.

It’s this aspect which really brings to life a sense of community.

Though Hurley’s play can be interpreted as taking some form of political charge, which is understandable, the apolitical nature of the piece really does gives an opportunity for audiences to celebrate their culture and heritage.

No matter what the outcome for Scotland’s future, Rantin shows that, as a nation, we’re all in this together.

• Run ended