Mairi Campbell: Pulse ****


Scottish Storytelling Centre

Venue 30

17.00 (run ends 27th Aug, odd dates)



This is a very personal account of one woman’s struggle to find her inner core and her deep connection to the earth.  Starting with Mairi’s four years’ classical viola training at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, we follow her on her journey to find her real self as a musician, travelling from Lismore to Mexico to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and back to Lismore.  On the way, we meet the people who had the greatest influence on her and watch Mairi discover what truly moves her, where her internal pulse lies and where the music is that really makes her come alive.


Mairi is an accomplished actress as well as musician and storyteller: she ‘becomes’ the women who have been most influential in her but contents herself with showing us her reaction to the men who have been most important to her.  We feel with Mairi the Damascus road effect of her encounter with step dancing, and rock with laughter as she shows us the reaction of genteel ‘authentic Scottish dancing’ ladies to her attempts to demonstrate its transformative power.


The show is a fascinating mix of storytelling, mime, music, dance and wordless singing which express the complexities of emotions surrounding Mairi’s music.  We see her frustration at Guildhall as she struggled to conform to the behaviours and performance style expected of her, her extreme joy of discovering step dancing and her realisation that the pulse which she had struggled so hard to find in her music was there, if only she would let go of focus on technique and listen to what the music was trying to tell her… The rhythm is in her blood, and all she has to do is let it out: this she does in a big way in her show as she challenges us all to let go of superficialities and search out whatever truly moves us and connects us to the earth and to the world and people around us.


It’s a cracking show performed by an outstanding musician and fearlessly honest storyteller: the audience were engaged, moved, and loudly appreciative.


Mary Woodward