Director: Ed Curtis
Reviewer: Dominic Corr
This was the year many found their voice to speak out. It was a divisive year, emotionally, politically and morally for many. Pantomime reminds us to sit back, relax and to just breath. Be close to our loved ones and appreciate the finer things in life just for a few hours. The finest of these things? For many in this country; a man in a dress.
Those in nappies (both young and old) are here for one thing: a drink… or fun… one can never really remember which. Regardless, fun is certainly on the table tonight. What kind of fun? Well, the variety we produce better than any other nation; Pantomime. Not just Panto, but the mother of them all: Cinderella. The tried and tested rags to riches story, everyone knows the tale. Abused by her wicked Step-Mother, Cinderella seeks love in the arms of Prince Charming. Aided by her best friend Buttons and the Fairy Godmother, Cinderella shall indeed go to the ball. True to the King’s panto however, with a proper Lothians twist…
The trio, unsurprisingly are fabulous. It’s a real Sophie’s choice to divide them into favourites of the evening. Though, if push comes to shove. Andy Gray is utterly adorable. Playing to the crowd, to the audience, even to his fellow performers he just sells everything which embodies the spirit of panto. Obviously, no self-respecting Panto would be complete without a “respectable” Fairy May. Alan Stewart’s usual mirth of spirit is blazing as ever, gaggles of music numbers with punts at the audience. Though with such a repertoire of vile villains, how on earth can they top previous years?
The good lady herself, Baroness Hibernia Hard-up classes this evenings performance amidst the rabble. One never really understands the number of boos associated with a lady of such standing. Even if she’s a tad mean spirited to Cinderella. As per usual, Grant Stott soaks up the hisses taking the mantle of antagonist. Humorous, fourth wall breaking and decadent, he’s loving every moment (and so are we).
The production quality is immeasurable for a pantomime, usually noted for their quirky charm regardless of budget. Here the glitz and glam really sell the show. Costumes galore, oh, and the fireworks, the Hogmanay street party could learn a thing or two from tonight’s spectacle.
With such high standards comes minor issues with tech, most notably sound issues. On occasion cast members are drowned out by the orchestra, their microphones trying to fight back. Flubs are expected in panto, hell we encourage them and will them to happen. A forgotten prop and fluffed line gain the largest laugh of the night, proving our stars talents with how they roll and incorporate these.
So, for just a few hours, enjoy life. Eat every sweet you can snatch from the kids in the audience. Embrace the gaudiness of the Panto with friends, family and strangers. At this festive time of year, the pains of life can gather, so what better way to fight off the cold than hearty warmth, laughter and some old theatre traditions.
Runs until 21 January 2018 | Image: Douglas Robertson