Robert Louis Stevenson - Songs and Music

An evening dedicated to songs and music inspired by Stevenson and his writings, this one-off performance of the critically acclaimed CD ‘From a Garden of Songs’ was a rare treat in a festival, bursting with a myriad of musical offerings. Folk artists Tom Clelland, Robin Laing, Wendy Weatherby, Norman Chalmers and Fiona Cuthill played the new musical arrangements of poems from Stevenson’s ‘A Child’s Garden of Verses’ with measured skill and modest flair, chatting cosily with the audience between songs and exuding warmth and passion. There was also a stirring performance of one of Stevenson’s own long-lost musical compositions, ‘Aberlady Links’.

The evening kicked off with ‘A Mile and a Bittock’, a relatively obscure piece of poetry by Stevenson set to music by Alan Reid of the Battlefield Band, with an added chorus by Reid in order to provide further clarity to the mysterious work. Time and time again, the music complements the rhythm and pace of the poetry perfectly; indeed, Clelland told us repeatedly that Stevenson’s poetry was easy to put to music due to this natural beat. Countless highlights follow, with both ‘The Swing’ and ‘The Shadow March’ showcasing a breathtaking approach to folk music and a deep understanding of the poems themselves. These might be mostly poems for children, but they still harbour a real depth of emotion that these compositions effortlessly bring to the fore.

At one point Clelland wonders aloud to the audience why it is that Scotland celebrates Burns by hosting Burns Suppers and gorging on haggis and whiskey, and yet the life and work of Robert Louis Stevenson, in comparison, is largely ignored. Surely, Clelland asks, Stevenson continues to touch just as many, if not more, lives in Scotland today? It’s a fair point, and one that this evening goes some way to addressing.

These musical compositions get right to the very heart of Stevenson’s words, capturing their essence in a way that only music can. If Stevenson were able to, it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine him giving such a project his unequivocal blessing and support.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

The Blurb

A performance of the critically acclaimed From a Garden of Songs. RLS's own songs, superb arrangements of poems from the Child's Garden of Verses plus a performance of Stevenson's own composition, Aberlady Links.

Most Popular See More

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

From £13.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £31.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £29.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets