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Full of pride

Review by Norah Pendergast 

Written, directed, choreographed by 
Sheila O’Brien

Performed by
Brad Simkulet, Miloš Simkulet, and Eric Pidgeon.

Live band
Director Peter Gallant, Christine Gallant, Max Gallant and fiddler, Gilbert Arsenault. Faculty and students of the College of Piping, Head Piper, James MacHattie, Dance Instructors, Samantha MacKay and Daniel Carr

The Story
Led by a piper into the grand new theatre of the Celtic Performing Arts Centre, audience members are greeted by a spectacular set that depicts a watchmaker’s workshop. Angus, the watchmaker, and Charlie, the jester, take the stage. Video projections of a giant clock with hands moving continuously lend the untouchable quality of time and anchor the story to episodes of Scottish history. Scottish lore and culture are animated through a framework of significant moments and memorable persons. Nationally renowned writer, director and choreographer, Sheila O’Brien has created, “something different,” from the College’s outdoor recitals of the past, a production of music, dance and storytelling seamlessly woven together with ancient pipe and drum tunings and immersive tempos of love, loss, and war.

The Performance
The College’s investment in the vitality of Celtic Arts is a vein of cultural gold for Prince Edward Island. Highland and step dancers hold the audience spellbound with a contagious celebratory energy and the house band fills in the bridges, tuned and timed specifically to support the ancient traditions of highland and step dancers, pipers, and the intricacies of Scottish drumming.

Shortcoming
In Great Scot!, the College’s first summer production with a theatrical storyline, there is a notable absence of representation of women in Scottish history. The three storytellers are men and all of the vignettes treat male historical icons except for one, which depicts the beheading of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Final Thought
Great Scot! Is a performance full of pride—dazzling pride in the new Centre for Celtic Performing Arts, pride in the tradition of excellence and discipline that students and faculty of the College continue and pride in Celtic legacy which, thanks to the College of Piping, is entrenched in PEI culture.

Great Scot! is on stage at the Centre for Celtic Performing Arts select dates all summer. www.collegeofpiping.com or call 1-877-BAG-PIPES. 

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