“How else do you dance your way out of a biscuit tin?”  Kate Molleson (BBC Radio 3)

Anna Meredith’s music provides the soundtrack to BURN, a new solo dance and theatre piece created by and starring Alan Cumming about the life and work of Robert Burns, choreographed by Steven Hoggett and Vicki Manderson, and devised for the National Theatre of Scotland.

It made its Edinburgh International Festival debut at the King’s Theatre on August 4th, and tours theatres in Scotland throughout September. This autumn BURN will open the 22/23 season at the Joyce Theatre in New York; BURN debuts on 20 September. BURN was commissioned, in part, with the support of The Joyce Theater Foundation's Stephen and Cathy Weinroth Fund for New Work.

BURN combines movement with spoken text, video, and music to evoke the chaotic, capricious, and passionate life of Scotland’s national poet. The hour-long dance piece aims to challenge the ‘biscuit tin’ image of Scotland’s most famous poet by focusing on the man himself and explore questions of Scottish identity. Lighting is by Tim Lutkin with video designs by Andrzej Goulding.

The show draws on a host of tracks by Meredith, including iconic anthem Nautilus, moonmoons, Calion, Rhododendron, Honeyed Words, and 2012 piece for the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain Handsfree.

Kate Molleson featured BURN on BBC Radio 3’s Front Row. “How else do you dance your way out of a biscuit tin?” commented Molleson on BURN’s use of Anna Meredith’s grungy Nautilus. Writer Arusa Qureshi described the “perfect affinity” the choreography and Meredith’s music, proving her favourite element of the production. The Stage praised “a sensational score from contemporary classical superstar Anna Meredith – an evolving, unsettling symphony of keening bagpipes, pulsing beats and breathy open chords. The show is stunning to look at, and stunning to listen to as well.”

 The Herald’s dance critic noted that “the music, meanwhile, shifts from nostalgic melody into jangling stridencies as Cumming delves into the physicality of shredded nerve ends”. The Guardian relished the “formidable pulse” (Mark Fisher) of Nautilus as Cumming “skips into something like a Highland dance” as Burns courts the Edinburgh well-to-do.

BURN tours to Perth, Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Inverness in August and September. Details and tickets here.