Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review (cabaret): This is Ceilidh and Ready, Steady, Ceilidh at Assembly George Square Gardens (Venue 3). Reviewed by Fiona Shepherd.
After last year’s one-off hoolie, This Is Ceilidh (****) has returned to the Fringe in a late night residency, scooping up keen participants as it goes, and this time it has brought a lunchtime incarnation, Ready, Steady, Ceilidh, targeted at kids and families. Both shows are similar in conception – part-ceilidh, part-performance, beginning outside the tent with a come-all-ye blast on the pipes.
The audience are split into two warring clans, a clever device to police how many folks crash the dancefloor at any one time. No previous ceilidh experience is required, as dances are clearly called and explained in the context of the unfolding clan storyline. Space is judiciously maximised by creating circles of revellers birling enthusiastically like dancers in a Busby Berkeley musical, with plaid shirts replacing feathery frocks.
The dances are interspersed with desultory spoken word set-pieces advancing the story of the clans – but mainly, one presumes, contrived to allow everyone to get their breath back after a vigorous Dashing White Sergeant – and variable musical interludes including a satirical curtain-raiser, a rap version of To a Mouse and the traditional valediction of The Parting Glass, while the whole shindig is soundtracked by a top-drawer ceilidh band.
However, the overall success of proceedings is entirely dependent on the audience getting involved, which they do heartily and in gleefully chaotic combinations, including an encouraging smattering of heterosexual male couples dancing like no one is watching.
Ready, Steady, Ceilidh (***), compered by comedian and CBBC presenter Iain Stirling and Lesley Harcourt, is cuter, with all the tiny tots sporting tartan togs, and features simpler dances. But it also features a healthy blurring of partners, as many kids happily make new friends in a safe environment, free from the embarrassment which goes along with school social dancing lessons.
This is Ceilidh and Ready, Steady, Ceilidh are at Assembly.
Originally published in The Scotsman
Going to the Edinburgh Festival?
• Unsure what to see? Read all The Scotsman reviews
• What’s hot (or not): Browse the reviews by star rating
• Don’t miss a thing. Sign up to our daily email newsletter
• Join the conversation with #WOWFEST and follow it live