The Scotsman: “This is Ceilidh plunges the audience into participation…gleefully chaotic”

By FIONA SHEPHERD in The Scotsman on 23/08/2014 | Full Article


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.