By JOHN SLAVIN.
David Colvin’s critically acclaimed and award-winning play about Gordon Duncan, Thunderstruck, returns to The National Piping Centre on Thursday and Friday of this week, October 13 and 14 with tickets available here.
I was lucky enough to be there when it first came to Glasgow at Piping Live! 2018. It was on the final day of the festival, programmed with a mid-Sunday afternoon start between the Gordon Duncan Memorial competition and the evening concert festival finale.
No one knew what to expect from the play at the first showing in 2018, and after a very busy week at Piping Live! and feeling rough around the edges, it totally caught me and many of the audience by surprise. From the first scenes I was laughing, and a bit shocked, but that made me laugh even more. There were tears of laughter and also some very poignant moments in between the skilful storytelling and the music. (I have some shaky video footage of some of the key scenes, and was tempted to post some as teasers here, but I don’t want to give you spoilers.)
One of the final events of the festival was a radically different tribute to Gordon Duncan in the form of Thunderstruck, a play about the influence of the great man on Scottish music, written by and starring David Colvin. Certainly not a family-friendly production, the show found creative and humorous ways to lay down the rules of bagpipe music to help a non-playing audience appreciate just how Gordon Duncan smashed them to smithereens in ways none had ever done before. Highlights ranged from a beautifully poignant use of Hector the Hero as a metaphor for Gordon’s own life and death to a hilariously frank depiction of just what an awestruck (or perhaps even thunderstruck?) young boy would say to Princess Diana on receipt of his band’s World Championship trophy. Stuart Milne • Piping Today Magazine
The play is a must-see for pipers, and these two dates are at the end of a Scottish tour which started in May and included a stint at the Edinburgh Fringe. It may be the last chance to catch the play for a while, so if you are in or around Glasgow this week buy yourself some tickets for the emotional Thunderstruck roller coaster. Get your tickets here!
Chris MacKenzie interviewed David Colvin for Piping Today magazine in 2019. Both spoke in depth about Gordon Duncan, and the impression that Gordon and his music had on both of them and his impact on the wider world of piping. The full interview is online here.