Morna Burdon’s journey through the world of women who have stood against war and made a peaceful difference is not shouting for space in a busy Edinburgh festival. Yet, on this, her first day, she has a full house. The George Mackay Brown Library in the Scottish Storytelling Centre is an apt venue.
Burdon has done her research. And she has chosen a tender and funny collection of songs to illustrate the power of peaceful protest. She began with Nancy Nicolson’s Last Carol which alternates between a melancholy chorus of mushroom clouds and heavy water and jaunty verses with the words, merrily, merrily. I instantly warmed to her and to the subject matter. At the end, the audience spontaneously joined her for We Will Overcome. It was very moving.
Early on she included a teenager from Japan, Sadako Sasaki, who made one thousand paper cranes, having been promised that the thousandth would grant her wish. She died from Leukemia after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. Her wish ungranted. In her honour, the children’s peace statue has been erected.
Burdon worked her way through peace walks, Greenham Common, the Faslane protests and more, illustrating each episode with a perfectly chosen a cappella song.
At the end, Burdon asked that people leave comments on cards outside the room if they felt inclined: I took a look: Brave, immersive; Wow!! It was very moving. Thank you for an inspiring show; Lovely and touching performance; Brilliant and so well researched.
It was indeed a moving and powerful performance from a humble human being who believes in the power of the peaceful protest and is an inspiration to us all. Check it out and get your tickets fast because she’s not on for the full Fringe run.
Reviewer: Kathleen Mansfield
Reviewed: 9th August 2023
North West End UK Rating: