Horse McDonald in Careful

Swapping her musical trappings for the theatre, Horse McDonald takes to the stage to present an undeniably intriguing and raw, if occasionally sensational, biopic of her own life.

A unique performance with unbridled sincerity, Horse McDonald delivers a top ten hit.

Though the audience seemed largely to be filled with long-time fans, people unfamiliar with Horse as a musician will still find much to enjoy in this show. Her discussion of LGBT struggles, including her own growing up in Lanark, is delivered with such heartfelt sincerity that it’s difficult not to be moved. Her performance style feels very open and relaxed, to the point where I think the show would be better classed as Spoken Word rather than Theatre.

It seems odd to comment on a life-story feeling melodramatic at times, but it’s less the content and more the theatrical delivery that is occasionally overdone. Several key moments are accompanied by music, either her own songs or other famous pieces, and whilst at times it gels well, at other times it feels a bit forced. A moment where she describes her wife’s marriage proposal is accompanied by Snow Patrol and it feels like it could only have been more overdone if it was accompanied by Celine Dion singing My Heart Will Go On.

However, this doesn’t undo the spell she casts in earlier parts of her tale, where she delves into dark events of her past that are both incredibly personal and yet utterly relevant to everyone else in the room. It’s difficult to expand on this without spoiling the narrative, which occasionally doesn’t transition as well as it could, but for the most part is unquestionably captivating.

A unique performance with unbridled sincerity, Horse McDonald delivers a top ten hit.

Reviews by James Beagon

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

There are times in life when you need to be careful; growing up gay in Lanark in the 70s, when the reward is half a pack of fruit pastilles, when the lady on the train tells you about the doctor you should meet. These would be some of those times, but you’ll always be saved if you use your voice. Horse McDonald takes us on a journey from kelpie in the Brownies to one of Scotland’s most celebrated singers, through those times when she had to be... Careful. Written by Lynn Ferguson. Directed by Maggie Kinloch.