Writers: Paul Elliott and Allan Stewart
Musical Director: Richard Anderson
Choreographer: Roger Hannah
Director: Paul Elliott
Reviewer: Rebecca Brown
Each year the resounding laughter and shouts of “Boo!” and “Hiss!” coming from the King’s Theatre can mean only one thing – panto season is back. So, if you need a bit of egging on to get into the Christmas spirit then twaddle on down to the King’s for their annual pantomime, where you’re guaranteed a riot of laughs and a fantastic night out for the whole family. As staple to your Christmas diet as pigs in blankets, no Christmas is quite complete without a trip to the panto.
Written by Paul Elliott and Allan Stewart, Mother Goose is fun, loud and unashamedly revels in every panto trope in the book, with a little bit of Edinburgh-born humour on the side. The colourful set and extravagant costumes make this a visually spectacular production and the cast dance and sing their way through a lively succession of contemporary pop songs. Featuring an appearance from the Edinburgh Zoo pandas and a very cute pantomime goose, as well as a rather special version of ‘Gangnam style’, this year’s offering is as enjoyable and brash as ever. Never one to miss out on a good tram-related joke or a football reference, local humour provides the basis for a lot of the jokes and eggs-eptionally bad puns abound. “Goose jokes are hard”, Stewart quipped at one point and Mother Goose pulls the worst and most cringe-worthy jokes out of the bag to ensure plenty of laughs.
The panto’s much loved trio (Allan Stewart, Andy Gray and Grant Stott) are on top form providing bucket-loads of laughs. Grant Stott’s evil Demon Vanity is just the right blend of camp and irritating – he’s the perfect villain we love to hate. When his foul play threatens to ruin the beloved pantomime, the crowd take great delight in shouting at him. Andy Gray has brilliant comic timing as Elvis McSporran, the hapless, lovable fool to Allan Stewart’s glorious pantomime dame. As always, things work best when they go wrong. Gray and Stewart are a terrific double act and it’s their ad-libs and interaction with the audience that draw the biggest laughs from the crowd.
It’s Stewart as Mother Goose who really makes this panto a cut above the rest. Stewart is a wonderful pantomime dame, with more costume changes than Lady Gaga, each more ridiculous and hilarious than the last. If anything, everything else on the stage feels like a sideline to Stewart’s costume changes, which steal the show every time.
While there’s plenty of contemporary pop numbers to keep the performance upbeat and lively, some of the singing is underwhelming and the music sometimes overpowered the voice of the performers. This is a minor niggle though: when you have so much fun it reallydoesn’tseem to matter much.
While the King’s may have had some fancy new seats put in, the panto is the same as ever. With its long running jokes and familiar faces, it seems their annual panto will never get old, and as the crowd get to their feet for the annual anthem of ‘Rocking All Over the World’ it seems no one would have it any other way. Fun, colourful and a little bit naughty, with enough to keep the kids and adults both amused, it’s everything a good panto should be. Like a festive treat that you probablyshouldn’tbe eating this early on, if you’re not enjoying yourself at Mother Goose then you’re probably trying too hard not to have fun.
Runs until Sun 20th January 2013