Fringe shows you need to see: Horse McDonald in Careful
Horse McDonald

Veteran Scottish singer songwriter Horse McDonald makes her theatre debut at the Fringe in her autobiographical solo show, Careful.

What is it?

Horse McDonald is best known for her album The Same Sky, released in 1990 by Capitol Records. A stalwart of the Scottish music scene and beyond. Careful is a one women play written by Lynn Ferguson, focusing on the star’s life growing up gay in 1970s Lanark. Horse takes us on a journey through her life starting with her childhood in Lanark and ending up on stage at the Royal Albert Hall (including a very good impression of Sandi Toksvig).

Why should I see it?

Horse gives a deeply personal insight into her life and the difficulties she faced knowing she was ‘not like the other girls’ growing up in a Scottish town. She recounts how hard she found it to fit in, to dress acceptably and to be what she was expected to be. As well as being a personal story, Careful also reveals 1970s society’s attitudes to LGBT people. Horse describes visiting several psychiatrists and psychologists, some of which recommended electric shock therapy, all because of who she was.

As the play develops, Horse discovers her extraordinary voice and society’s liberal tides start to come in. Careful is an uplifting and empowering tale of personal triumph and the healing power of music.

Stand-out moment?

At the very end Horse McDonald sings the song ‘Careful’ from her The Same Sky album. Her voice fills the room with the warmth and tunefulness of an orchestra.

How can I see it?

Horse McDonald in Careful is at Gilded Balloon at the Museum (Venue 64), from 12-29 of August. Tickets available from

Anything else?

Horse McDonald’s idols include David Bowie and Marc Bolan, she even bought a pair of two tone loon pants in the 1970s. T-Rex’s song ‘Metal Guru’ even features in the play.

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