Mary Woodward Review

My Doric Diary, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Review

A Play, a Pie and a Pint

***** (5 stars)

Theatre at its best makes you laugh, makes you cry, takes you out of yourself and into someone else’s world for a wee while – there’s all this and more with a peek into My Doric Diary, this week’s a Play, a Pie and a Pint.

Daisy’s a live-wire sixteen-year-old who has our attention right from the start.  We’re in the Broch [that’s Fraserburgh to you], we’re in the theatre where onyhin con happen: if you think I’m talking funny it’s because I’m speaking Doric and if you don’t understand what I’m saying – well, TOUGH! 

It’s Hogmanay, and Daisy has been invited to the Hogmanay party at the civic centre by Autumn, her blue-haired pal who works at the petrol station.  She really wants to go, but the problem is her Grunny [Granny to you] Flora, with whom she lives.  Grunny considers Doric uncouth, speaks very properly, is very fond of saying when I was your age, and has imposed a 7.30pm curfew on Daisy, despite the fact that she will be seventeen tomorrow.

The Hogmanay tradition in Grunny Flora’s household is for them to sit together and watch a video of The Wizard of Oz, which Daisy feels she has outgrown – other people her age drink, and smoke and even [say it very quietly] have sex, for goodness’ sake!  But when she overrides her inner counsellor and asks Grunny if she can go to the party, saying she doesn’t want to watch the film, Grunny responds but you love it, to which Daisy shouts no, YOU love it before storming out, slamming the door, and taking refuge in her bedroom.

And this is where things start to become a little strange – the lights keep flicking, there’s a strange clattering sound, and inside her cupboard she finds a big yellow box.  Inside the box… now there’s a tale, and a cracking good tale it is too – but you’ll have to come and hear it for yourself.

This is a brilliant, lively piece of theatre exploring relationships, love, and loss.  Katie Barnett is a real live wire as teenage Daisy – singing, dancing, switching accents, characters and moods, and holding us in the palm of her hand.  Musicians James Siggens and Gavin Whitworth add depth and colour to the score, play an integral part in the action, and vocals which produce some lovely three-part harmonies.  Music is a vivid, integral, and significant part of the piece – funny, lively, heart-rending and saying so much more than mere words can do.

Yet again PPP has come up with a winner – I’m sure I was not the only person in the audience both laughing out loud and moved to tears, not least with the final song – so well known, but sounding completely fresh and new in Doric.  The meanings of one or two words in the script eluded me, though others in the audience seemed familiar with them: but you don’t need to be a linguistics scholar to appreciate this rich and expressive language – the underlying message of the play speaks in all languages: there’s nae place like hame.

The audience loved it!  My Doric Diary is on till the end of the week: catch it if you can: and if you can’t, hope that the Traverse will soon reintroduce an evening PPP performance, so that a wider audience can enjoy the fascinating range of drama being created in Scotland today.  This is the last play in the current PPP series – rock on the next one!

PS – On a culinary note, I was delighted to arrive in time to get the last of the chicken and mushroom pies on offer today – delicious, thank you!  Let’s hope they are a regular feature on the menu next season…

Mary Woodward

My Doric Diary, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Runs until Saturday 16th April, for tickets go to:


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