Katie Barnett describes My Doric Diary – which she created with husband James Siggens – as a “Doric jukebox musical”. But it’s more than that, much more.
It’s funny, clever, endlessly inventive, chock full of banging tunes and – above all else – deeply moving.
Let’s just say that if you don’t find The Lemon Tree suddenly becoming a bit, ahem, dusty as you watch the story unfurl then you have less of a heart than the Tin Man. Yes, there’s a Wizard Of Oz theme in here.
Oh, and time travel and magic realism. In glorious Doric.
Working on the very simplest of sets Katie, as Daisy, sets out her stall in quick brush strokes.
It’s Hogmanay 2010, the day before her 17th birthday and Daisy wants to go to the party in the Fraserburgh Leisure Centre (Katie’s home town is very much a character in My Doric Diary).
Very real and raw emotions at play in My Doric Diary at The Lemon Tree
But her grunny – sorry, granny – Flora won’t let her, insisting on their tradition of watching the Wizard Of Oz, leaving Daisy to sing to herself – and the audience – in her bedroom.
That’s just the starting point for a tale of loss and love as Daisy is given a chance to reconnect with her singer mum who died on the day she was born. It’s a journey she takes with a bit of help from the spirit of Doric past.
The beauty of My Doric Diary lies in both its simplicity and its complexity. It’s just Katie on acting and singing honours while husband James and musical director Gavin Whitworth do guitar and keyboard duties, all with minimum props and lighting.
But there are very big real and raw human emotions here, which the stunningly good Katie plays like the conductor of a symphony orchestra, a slow build of little moments that build to a crescendo of catharsis.
The script is a thing of beauty, laugh out loud funny one minute, gulpingly tender the next, all while the fourth wall is broken with glee. References to this being A Play, A Pie and A Pint production abound.
Katie is the driving force behind this. Her Daisy is a living, breathing, likeable teenager, full of fun, angst, love and confusion all at the same time.
The picture she paints of the relationship between Daisy and Granny Flora – Katie flitting seamlessly between the two characters – is one we can all recognise and relate to.
Instantly recognisable lyrics are transformed into Doric
And then there’s that singing voice. Katie has a superb range, tackling classics like I Want To Dance With Somebody and If I Can Turn Back Time with ease. It’s made all the better with the instantly recognisable lyrics being transformed into Doric – a clever device that sits superbly well.
But where My Doric Diary really lands is in the depth of feeling it pulls out of the audience as Daisy tries to connect with the mum she lost and with the granny she has. Put simply, when you finish your pie, hang on to your napkin. You’re going to need it.
Checking in at 50 minutes, My Doric Diary packs more punch than some main stage musicals with more than twice the running time.
In fact, there’s enough material in here to create one of those fully-blown shows should Aye Tunes – as Katie and James call themselves – put their very talented and creative minds to it.
My Doric Diary ends on Saturday. Tickets are limited but do yourself a favour and try to grab some at aberdeenperformingarts.com