Confessions of a Justified Songwriter – Edinburgh Festival Fringe – Assembly Checkpoint


Confessions of a Justified Songwriter at Assembly Checkpoint (Venue 322), until 28 August – even dates only.

Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩

A well-crafted piece, taking us into the often vulnerable underbelly of the music business. A team of young writers are building new material together, under the guidance of Rachel, an experienced writer. A hit song is the very least the diva ‘V-toria’ will accept. The mission of the writers is not just to pen a hit, but a smash.

The rhythm of the piece has a flow that builds into each song as it emerges from the collective of writers. The skill from the Kielty brothers in writing the piece is that each song has a separate style, the flow coming from the dialogue as we find out more about each of the writers in the team and how, with testing a variety of approaches, they can create a range of songs with varying degrees of success.

The energy that builds through an improvisation is a joy to behold – layer upon layer of sound – while the movement suggests a Pied Piper played by Rachel, encouraging the others to follow the lead. Slightly less successful are the interventions from musical director Simon, and perhaps the ‘Simon says’ moments should be reconsidering.

The Diva, her stalker, the struggling writers, and even the guy who went into the wrong room by accident on the first day, express the joys and frustrations of writing and finding the elusive formula for a hit.

In the end, following a formula can only be a starting point: it’s the process and inspiration that take the spark of an idea into a complete work. And when it’s successful, the message of a song can be extremely powerful – it can change the way people feel, the way people think,; the way we see our world.

God bless the songwriters – they make the world go round.

Fiona Orr


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