The King's Kilt

Rona Munro's comedy drama, originally produced for Radio 4 in 2008, tells the story of a period in the life of Walter Scott when he was tasked with commissioning a kilt for King George IV to wear on a controversial visit to Scotland. Scott must persuade the best kilt maker in Scotland to make the garment despite her justifiable dislike of the king, whose father began the bloody wars that led to the deaths of members of her family. Scott must also keep his bullying landlady onside by writing a book in which he sings her praises.

The dialogue is lovely. By turns beautiful and absurd, funny and quotable, the feeling is of watching a master of her craft have a bit of fun with this light little play.

In the hands of a less skilled writer, the tension between the very serious and subtly executed criticism of Scott's presentation of Highlanders in his work, and the farcical “landlady” subplot, could have felt a bit strained. However, Munro manages it perfectly. The comedy is fast, plentiful and intelligent. We are absolutely encouraged to enjoy it, and the political messages just seep gently in along with them.

Munro, whose most recent work, The James Plays, played both the National Theatre of Scotland and the National Theatre of Great Britain, brings her familiar eloquence to this piece. The dialogue is lovely. By turns beautiful and absurd, funny and quotable, the feeling is of watching a master of her craft have a bit of fun with this light little play. It’s a treat to be part of it.

Under the assured direction of Marilyn Imrie, David Mara gives an enjoyably solid performance as Walter Scott, and manages to squeeze a lot of character into the much smaller role of Dr. Walt Scott; his transition from one character to the other being pleasingly seamless. Beth Marshall’s Ailsa is emotionally intelligent and thoughtful; she largely carries the political message of the piece and does so with subtlety, always keeping it well embedded in her character. Alison Peebles shines as the two “Missus McEvoys”; clearly relishing such a strong character part, she delivers most of the laughs in the production.

In all, a brilliant hour’s entertainment with plenty of laughs, and enough serious critical material to keep you thinking about it afterwards.

Reviews by Grace Knight

Kings theatre

Matthew Bourne's Cinderella

King's Theatre

Legally Blonde

King's Theatre

The Sound of Music

Theatre Royal Glasgow

The Crucible

Theatre Royal Glasgow

Jane Eyre

Theatre Royal Glasgow

Little Shop of Horrors


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 £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

In 2014 an American academic finds a lost diary of Walter Scott’s under the floorboards of his Edinburgh bed and breakfast.

In 1822 Walter Scott himself is preparing a reluctant Scotland for the arrival of their monarch, George IV, the first of his royal house to ever venture north of the border.....and to greet his Scottish subjects the King must have a kilt. But getting him one becomes an almost impossible task as Edinburgh’s best kilt maker flatly refuses to make it.

An irreverent comic history of what might have happened.

Most Popular See More

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £46.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £39.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets