AS the light shone first onto our own faces, I didn’t realise that by the end of the performance I would feel so buffeted. Polwart’s stage presence is stronger than the average Scottish gale. She’s everything: nimble, canny, a wise woman in the truest sense of the words. Now a Robert the Bruce spider, now an earnest teacher (the sort that still loves her subject), now a full choir blasting us with chords that rolled over us like waves.

I was left breathless by opulent descriptions of the Midlothian moor, or birds, or seeds, or moss. Her rich voice and tenor guitar, the effortless switching between words and song. As the narratives stacked up like an overlapping patchwork of natural grasses, I bounced weightlessly between the woman before me, and the stories of women gone before me.

Tears, which began from the pure beauty of words and music, were a salve at first, but as the stories drew to their conclusion I was drawn towards real terror, shot through with familiarity. Every sung note became a release, tipping us into a yet more powerful place where music transcends, our feelings pulled along with it.

But – it was funny, too. There were warnings, and yes, there are politics, but it is all wrapped up like a chat with your friend, a hand on your shoulder and a small voice saying ‘Have you seen this, this thing that they’ve done? I’m not sure about that, you know.’

From 1919 Sutra, to 2016 Fala, I was swept away by the charm, the magic, the splendour of Wind Resistance.

Wind Resistance is returning to the Lyceum Main Theatre between November 3 to 11, 2017. Tickets are available from or the Lyceum Box Office on 0131 248 4848

Stella Hervey Birrell’s debut novel How Many Wrongs make a Mr Right is available on Amazon. She blogs at