Read more about COLONEL ANNE in THE SCOTSMAN: 'Fringe play backs campaign to recognise Jacobite heroine Anne McIntosh buried in Leith on 300th anniversary of her birth.'
COLONEL ANNE, JACOBITE HEROINE
August at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
September at Braemar Village Hall.
Written by David Shirreff,
Directed by Kevin Purvis
Produced by James Shirreff
Colonel Anne, a real-life heroine of the 1745 Jacobite Rising, defied her husband the Laird of Mackintosh and raised troops for Bonnie Prince Charlie. Her quick thinking saved the Prince's life at the Rout of Moy, while her warrior-lover Macgillivray died at the bloody Battle of Culloden. Imprisoned by the Duke of Cumberland, she survived to tell the tale. A true story of passion, raw courage and female independence in a turbulent Scotland.
Above: Colonel Anne in rehearsal at the 2023 Edinburgh Fringe.
DUNS PLAYERS PRESENT
for Duns Summer Festival 2023:
A CABARET FOR ALL THE FAMILY
Sunday 2nd July, 2023, Duns Volunteer Hall
FAMILY CABARET IS TRUE CROWD PLEASER
In the second of a series of Duns Players’ cabarets planned for this year and hosted by experienced theatre-maker Peter Lerpiniere, the guest star was James Royan, President of Duns Summer Festival Committee and a Police Scotland commander.
Peter’s entertaining questions, plus audience contributions from James’ family (as well as Reivers and Reivers Lasses, past and present) covered James’ early years: joining the force, coming to live locally, his Summer Festival volunteer work and life as Police Scotland's most experienced officer in planning security for major Scottish sporting events.
The evening started and ended with music from Billy Ray and the Misfits. This versatile five-piece band of musicians and vocalists, including our own Duns Player Carol Robson, took most of us down memory lane with some of the best songs from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, including country and folk. The music hit the right note with the audience who accompanied the band on many a chorus.
Musician and singer Graham Bryans, another Duns Player, treated us to some traditional folk songs, providing another opportunity for a singalong. Magic tricks and mind-bending illusions from The Electrician Magician, Harry Bailey, amazed us, whilst Andrew Knight, local stand-up comedian, kept us laughing with Borders observations and stories.
The format of interesting and lively conversation interspersed with excellent entertainment from local artistes worked well, encouraging contributions from an engaged audience, and creating a wonderful community atmosphere.
An evening of great entertainment, enthusiastic audience participation and fun!
June 7-10, 2023
Duns Volunteer Hall
The new musical about World Champion racing driver and Berwickshire sheep farmer, Jim Clark:
Torn between his desire to race and self doubt, fear of danger and his parents' disapproval, Jim makes an, at times, reluctant entry into the world of motorsport, but a spectacular racing career, awaits as the Scotsman sets motor-racing records, some of which remain unbeaten today,.
Review by Eloner Crawford
Jim Clark the Musical was back by popular demand in June for a second run after its première last year. The show was written and directed by Alex Watson, who also wrote the lyrics. Music was composed and band assembled by Musical Director Mike Hardy.
First and most importantly, the scale and ambition of the project must be applauded and celebrated. To write, direct and create lyrics on what might, at first, seem an unlikely subject is, in itself, a cause for admiration.
As a part-biography, the storyline follows Jim Clark’s emergence as a world class Formula One racing driver from his humble roots as a Border’s shepherd and on to his tragic demise at Hockenheim. Alex highlighted the doubts and fears he, his family and friends must have had to contend with and contrasted those with the hopes and ambitions of the spectators, managers and team mates.
Alex chose to stage the piece using a simple set on the stage floor combined with archive film footage and authentic sports commentary to conjure up the excitement and atmosphere of the racetrack, pit stops and stands as well as quieter moments in the farmhouse kitchen and local offices.
The versatile cast jumped in and out of costumes to portray a myriad of characters connected to Clark during his short lifetime.
‘If you can’t say it, sing it’ and Alex uses the catchy and sometimes poignant songs and music to express difficult emotions to ‘Let the music do the talking’.
Special mention goes to Matthew Forster, the young man who embodied the lead role and even grew to look like the man still remembered as the best racing driver there has ever been.
For more images of Jim Clark the Musical, see Gallery page
April 28 - May 6
Duns Volunteer Hall
BORDERLANDS DOUBLE BILL: The Fatal Misjudgement & The King's Pin
Saturday 29 April
2pm Main Stage,
Duns Volunteer Hall
The Fatal Misjudgement
By Carol Robson
The Fatal Misjudgement follows Mary Queen of Scots as she makes her escape over the English border, across the Solway Firth in 1568, with high hopes of a glorious return at the head of an army raised with the help of her cousin Elizabeth I.
She confides in her lifelong companion, Mary Seaton, as they realise that their refuge is no more than captivity and that her future will lie in the hands of the real power behind the English throne ... her nemesis, William Cecil, Lord Burghley.
Cast: Marie Foreman - Mary Queen of Scots
Hannah Renton - Mary Seaton
Ben Foreman - Lord Burghley
Chris Drewery - Sir Nicholas Throckmorton
The Fatal Misjudgement
Review by Carol Robson
We presented a short 4 act study of the window in time when Mary Queen of Scots fled over the English Border, never to see Scotland or her baby son again. It was a poignant look at her naive trust in her bond with her cousin, Elizabeth of England, and her vulnerability in the hands of the great statesman and enemy, William Cecil. She opens her heart to her beloved lifelong companion, Mary Seaton, and explores her relationship with her three husbands.
Marie Foreman gave a beautiful performance as the Queen and held the audience with her emotional twists and turns. Hannah Renton played Mary Seaton with great gentleness and empathy as the loyal companion. Jamie Mein (“Little Willie” Douglas) displayed all the energy and enthusiasm of a brave young Scot rescuing his Queen. Chris Drewery played the young courtier Throckmorton, and his
performance brought out the conflicting reactions of this impressionable young man in his early career under the powerful Cecil. Ben Foreman, cast as the fanatical Cecil, brought out a brooding, sinister control to the role and dominated Throckmorton, the stage, and the audience.
We are hoping to expand the offering into a six act play and add Queen Elizabeth to the list of Dramatis Personae. A huge thank you to Eloner Crawford for guiding us and providing Direction (and the stage set!) to our little production. And thank you so much to the fabulous cast who worked so hard at short notice and gave their all! Carol Robson
A WORD ABOUT THE KING'S PIN
from its author, Craig Knight
The King’s Pin first ran over Zoom, then on the radio, before finally making it to the stage. It was well worth the journey. We even had complaints. Apparently, the play contained foul language (entirely true), and was anti-English (not at all). But as a ****ing English author these accusations delighted me.
James IV lies at the root of the piece. An intelligent, but perfidious, monarch who killed his father, moved into the old man’s job and later signed competing pacts: one each with those firm pals, France and England (the latter featuring Henry VIII, known to all as moral rectitude dressed in a codpiece). Had James then not torn up the Treaty of Perpetual Peace – seeing his chance to defeat a smaller English army under Catherine of Aragon, while the big fellah was occupied with a scrap across the channel – there would have been no Battle of Flodden, no decimation of Scotland’s leading families and potentially a different relationship taking shape across the River Tweed.
Far more importantly, there would have been no King’s Pin. I know!
We would have been denied the directorial skill of Eloner Crawford, whose ideas shaped our actions. We would never have seen the superb Kate Lester play the vengeful witch, threatening to chase her quarry across more than five centuries. Nor would we have benefitted from Kate’s clever idea – and Glen Shepherd’s brilliant execution – of filming the world in the aftermath of James’s defeat, interleaving three cinema scenes with four from the 21st century end game, which were played out on stage.
This juxtaposition worked well. Two pairs of markedly similar characters, one Scottish woman and an English man in each era , were seemingly bound by events across the spectrum of time. All of them linked by that most enigmatic piece of Scottish jewellery, The King’s Pin. This mythological keepsake had been made by a ghost and given to a King under a matriarch’s Valkyric direction. It had the power to protect the monarch’s life, dooming another in his stead and fooling his enemy.
On stage, the modern man, with tendrils of family history stretching back to Catherine of Aragon’s liegeman, makes an emotional devotion to his fiancée, the gift of a family heirloom, a battered, but still stabbingly sharp, ancient kilt pin. His intended is the very facsimile of the mysterious Borders Witch who had parted with the King’s Pin, centuries earlier, but only under the threat of the massacre of her kind. This witch had sworn revenge on the man who took her bloodied ornament, with the passage of time being no obstacle to her malice.
Could the tatty, tarnished, unpromising relic, have any connection to the supernatural cipher once used by James IV? And surely no force on earth could allow one woman to burn with necromantic fury for half a millennium? Giving her power to hunt down the now guileless, unknowing male, who – the medieval sorceress had sworn – had twisted her out of the most malign piece of silverware to be found on either side of the warring border?
Impossible, although … Craig Knight
Cast: Craig Knight - Thomas Howard, Earl of Surry/ Man
Kate Lester - Woman 1/Woman 2.
Saturday 29 April 2023
2.30pm Main Stage
Duns Volunteer Hall
The King's Pin - A Ghost Story
By Craig Knight
The Battle of Flodden took place on September 9th, 1513.
Among the thousands of Scottish dead was the King himself, except rumours persisted of James IV surviving the carnage, thanksto an unearthly gift bestowed in Linlithgow Chapel on the eve of battle. The sinister power of the King's Pin persists down the centuries, its capacity for magic, murder and revenge undiluted by time ...
Still Nothing Ever Happens in Duns:
A Right Rollicking Tale of Gold Digging in Berwickshire.
Review by Taff Thomas.
The Volunteer Hall, Duns, was busy through the recent PlayFest, but never as busy as for the night when local hero Bob Noble’s latest show, Still Nothing Ever Happens in Duns, hit the boards.
They were squeezing folk in as the lights went up on a rollicking tale of excitement and subterfuge around the Merse: Robert McRob, ably played by our very own John McEwen, sets the moors alight as news breaks of a meterorite of solid space gold thumping into the Lammermuirs on his farm.
Over the next couple of hours, they were rolling in the aisles as the tale is told of how Duns deals with the influx of gold diggers and media. Global H12 TV presenter Zak (Ben Foreman) checks into the entirely fictional Hen and Crow where publicans Ronnie and Red (Nigel Warren and Emma Lindsay) play host to Australian pan handlers Ange and Margy (Kate Lester and Anne Hartley). With Stefan the Eastern European (Alex Wilson) they battle to get to the crater full of carats that is Fireball Hollow, whilst our local bobby, Peter the Policeman, (Peter Lerpiniere) tries to hold the fort until HM Government in the form of Roger (Eric Branse-Instone) tries to set up a protected scene of scientific interest so that they can claim the loot. Rob’s son, Rory, (Logan Robertson)even comes back to “help” on the farm, whilst the younger generationrepresented by Jamie Mein, Ailsa Renton and Alexa McKenzie actually manage to
capture the historic event on their phones.Global media interest focusses on our wee Border town for a few days, almost turning the head of Rob’s partner Gloria(Christine Slater) until just as quickly as it arrived, the peat bog swallows up our rock visitor from outer space again. But that is not before our wily hero chips off a nano-nugget that will allow any worries about the loss of set aside to be set aside.
As the gold subside,s so does world interest and Duns returns to its normal, but the real reward is that Rob has his son Rory back at home.
Players playing about whilst leaving an underlying message that lingers on after the curtain falls.
Well played, Players! Taff Thomas
It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of our much-loved President, Bob Noble, on Friday 9th June, 2023.
Bob was an exceptional person of great character and talent, and he will be very much missed by Duns Players, as well as his many friends, contacts
and, of course, his family.
For an obituary, see our About Us page.
The late Bob Noble
His last performance for Duns Players
Sunday 26 February, The Volunteer Hall, Duns
Duns Players' President, Bob Noble, was first up in a new Sunday-night series of DP-staged interviews called A Pie And A Pint.
And what an astonishing life he revealed at what was billed A Secret Cabaret! The actor, writer and musician let great names drop in the way most of us shed dust. He met and played beside folk legends such as Ally Bain, The Corries, Rab Noakes, The Fureys. He knew Alan Price of The Animals at college. He'd rubbed shoulders with Barbara Dickson ... And all this disclosed in Bob's matter-of-fact, modest way. Interviewer Peter Lerpiniere navigated his way through the eye-stretching revelations with usual good humour, Bob sang and played guitar, jazz pianist Alan Anderson tickled the ivories, Archie Kirkwood mouthed the harmonica, Carol Robson sang like a bird, the Mamas and Papas resurrected themselves and the large audience at Duns Volunteer Hall was utterly thrilled.
Top: Bob Noble plays guitar to an appreciative audience with interviewer, Peter Lerpiniere, at A Secret Cabaret.
Near right: Bob's son, Gus, helps his father onto the stage with Peter, while, far right , his sister, Kirsty, gives Bob a laugh with some childhood memories.