Tag Archives: Panto

REVIEW: Jack and the Beanstalk – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

If it’s a big traditional panto with plenty of glitz and sparkle you’re looking for, then Glasgow King’s certainly delivers year on year.

This year’s offering is Jack and the Beanstalk, starring local panto treasures Elaine C. Smith and Johnny Mac, and save for these two local favourites, it’s a minor TV celeb-free zone and all the better for it.

The story largely follows the traditional tale: there’s a huge furry cow, some magic beans, a growing beanstalk, a fabulously realised giant and the requisite evil baddie, some familiar tunes – mostly oldies, there are no new pop hits. It’s re-set to Glasvegas with some familiar local references thrown in and most of the usual panto tropes intact. There’s no slapstick, a tiny bit of audience participation, the dame is a woman, the princess doesn’t need a man to vanquish the foe and proposes to her beau – all a refreshing move in the right direction. It needs mentioning though that a sequence between Mac and Smith incorporating the names of famous chocolate bars, was seen last year almost exactly in Cinderella at the SEC Armadillo.

Elaine C. Smith is much-loved and a solid pair of hands for a production as big as this and Johnny Mac is entirely loveable and endearing as Jack, the audience is onside from his first wide smile. Less effective is Anne Smith as the panto baddie Mrs. Blunderbore, an unfortunate visual joke from Jack about her performance being a bit flat, is unfortunately accurate, and in contrast to her co-stars her costumes are utterly lacklustre – more Poundland than Pantoland.

All in all, it’s exactly as you would expect every year from the King’s – big, bold and beautifully executed. A fine night of traditional entertainment.

Runs until 5 January 2019

Image: Richard Campbell

Originally written for and published by The Reviews Hub

REVIEW: Cinderfella – Tron Theatre, Glasgow

There has thankfully been a seismic shift in the Pantosphere in recent years to reflect the society we actually live in, and at the forefront has been the Tron Theatre, and more specifically those works from the pen of the wonder boy of panto fabulousness, Johnny McKnight. That said, this is the festive show I’ve attended since childhood and from the days of Peter Capaldi, Forbes Masson, Alan Cumming and Craig Ferguson, it has never felt the need to conform to Christmas norms or patronise its audience. It has a special place in my heart and year on year it never fails to entertain on every level and for every age.

The smashing of gender stereotypes features large in this year’s offering Cinderfella, and boy do they do it with tons of style and even more humour. Poor, orphaned Cinderella is fighting to keep her late parent’s vintage store afloat, her only hope is to meet fashion entrepreneur Princess Charmaine and persuade her to invest in the failing family business. However, the only way a poor pleb like Cinderella can get near the Princess is to get an invite to her annual ball. However, this year the guest-list is a male-only affair – so what’s a girl to do?…

The music is chart-toppingly catchy and composer Ross Brown has obviously caught West End smash Six, another celebration of female strength, there’s also a nod to You’ve Got a Friend in Me in Muttons big solo number.

The all-female cast is absolutely dynamite. Sally Reid, all wide-eyed innocence and guilelessness is the titular hero and her comic timing is masterful. Lauren Ellis-Steele doubles up as “Scotland’s answer to Beyoncé” (more an Adele look-and-sound-alike) and also the Wicked Stepmother – it’s a perfectly pitched performance and Ellis-Steele has a fine set of pipes, and as with all McKnight festive offerings, she gets to go full-on Mariah in All I Want For Christmas, the song that traditionally brings the shows to an end. Jo Freer as Cinderella’s loyal sheep side-kick Muttons is a scene stealer as are Hannah Jarrett-Scott and Daisy Ann Fletcher as Cinders’ hapless and hopeless step-brothers Harry and Larry in eye-popping male-drag. 

This ‘estrogen epidemic’ is so well conceived and so well delivered, you can’t fail to be thoroughly entertained and its message of female self-reliance will make your heart soar. I can’t praise it highly enough – a fantastic, five star, festive feast.

Image: John Johnstone

WHAT’S ON DECEMBER: Jack & the Beanstalk at Beacon Arts Centre Greenock

Poor Dame Trot and her son Jack hardly have a bean to their name, and to make things worse the village is being terrorised by a wicked giant. Can Jack defeat the giant, win the heart of his one true love and solve his economic woes?

The show stars Still Game’s Jane McCarry as Queen Grizelda, Mark Cox as Fleshcreep, River City’s Jimmy Chisholm as Dame Trot and the hilarious Lee Samuel as Simon. The quartet return by popular demand having proved a huge success in the Beacon panto over the last few years.

Once again the Beacon Arts Centre will have all the ingredients for a perfect family panto, with a dastardly villain, a hapless comic and a hilarious panto dame, as well as spectacular sets and costumes, fabulous songs and dances and bags of slapstick fun!

6 – 31 December 2019

Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock

Tickets: http://beaconartscentre.co.uk/events/tags/jack-and-the-beanstalk/

WHAT’S ON DECEMBER: The Magical Adventures of Pinocchio

Following the success of last year’s production Cinderella, The Pavilion have decided to take the team on another Panto adventure.

The production team have said: “It has been one of our favourites over the years and we think that we are the only theatre in the country to produce The Magical Adventures of Pinocchio. As always, we base our Pantomime on the original story but have that Glasgow twist in true Pavilion style and you can be confident that it is Good Clean Family Entertainment.”

It is sure to be a Sing-A-Long, Join In Adventure with an all star cast, a brand new script, stunning scenery, sensational costumes and magical special effects that they have become known for.

There are Generous Discounts and Concessions available at all performances.

28 Nov 2019 – 12 Jan 2020

More info here: https://www.paviliontheatre.co.uk/shows/the-magical-adventures-of-pinocchio/

WHAT’S ON DECEMBER: Mother Goose fae Easterhoose is Platform’s Christmas show

This festive season Platform presents a brand new Christmas show for all the family at The Bridge in Easterhouse. Written by Glasgow-based playwright, director and theatre maker Lewis Hetherington, Mother Goose Fae Easterhoose sees an original take on the classic fairy tale with plenty of local humour.

Hetherington has contributed to Platform’s Christmas programme for a number of years. The show will see 18 performances run between the 10th and 23rd of December 2019.

Happy living a quiet peaceful life, looking after her animal friends, with just enough to get her by, Mother Goose’s world is thrown up in the air when her favourite pet Bruce the goose lays a golden egg. Everything changes… she is rich! What will she do with this new found wealth and fame? Will Mother Goose stay true to her self or will she get lost in a whirlwind of fancy clothes, sports cars and celebrity pals?

Come along to find out, and expect jokes, songs and raucous storytelling. The show is ideal for everyone aged 5 years and over, lasting 70 minutes with no interval. Group bookings are welcomed, and goody bags available in a range of sizes for all ages.

Lewis is a writer, director and theatre maker whose work is rooted in collaboration and storytelling. He has won two Fringe First Awards and an Adelaide Fringe Award. His work has been presented throughout the Scotland and the rest of the world including performances in Australia, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Germany, USA and Japan amongst others.

MOTHER GOOSE FAE EASTERHOOSE

Tue 10 Dec, 10am

Wed 11 Dec, 10am & 7pm

Thu 12 Dec, 1pm

Fri 13 Dec, 10am & 7pm

Sat 14 Dec, 2pm & 7pm

Mon 16 Dec, 10am & 7pm

Tue 17 Dec, 10am

Wed 18 Dec, 10am

Fri 20 Dec, 7pm

Sat 21 Dec, 2pm & 7pm

Sun 22, Dec 2pm

Mon 23 Dec, 2pm & 7pm

 

For age 5 years and above.

 

TICKET PRICES: £9.50 (Full Price) / £6 (Concession) / £5 (Local Links)

There is also a significant discount available for members of Platform’s Local Links scheme, available for those living in a range of local postcodes as well as family and group tickets open to all – more information available online here.

Platform, The Bridge

1000 Westerhouse Road,

Easterhouse, Glasgow, G34 9JW

www.platform-online.co.uk / info@platform-online.co.uk

0141 276 9696 (opt 1)

NEWS: Panto Announcement – Eastwood Park Theatre and GAMTA

Eastwood Park Theatre has announced its official pantomime for 2019 is set to be Cinderella.

The cast from GAMTA will deliver the show stopping, all-singing, all dancing panto performances from 11-30 December 2019.

It is the first time that GAMTA will produce a pantomime at the Giffnock venue.

Anthony McReavy from East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure said:

“We can’t wait to bring the truly magical story of Cinderella to life during our festive season this year and we’re excited to welcome the cast from GAMTA to our stage.

“GAMTA is home to many stars in the making and has a long history of producing successful pantomimes that are enjoyed by all the family, so we know that our audiences are in for a treat.”

Graduates have an impressive history of work in the industry, appearing on screen and in theatres across the world.

Principal Shaaron Graham said: “We’ll be bringing the Cinderella story, songs and characters to life at Eastwood Park Theatre this year while sprinkling some special GAMTA panto magic on top.

“It’s set to be a great show so book early so you don’t miss out!”

Tickets are on sale now priced at £15 standard, £12 concession/child and Family Ticket for two adults and two children is £45. Buy tickets at www.eastwoodparktheatre.co.uk or call Eastwood Park Theatre box office on 0141 577 4956.

REVIEW: Cinderella – SEC Armadillo, Glasgow

The SEC Armadillo pantomime has gone all-out in its efforts to sparkle and shine brighter than its rivals: even before you enter there’s the dazzling 5 foot high letters spelling out the title of the show, then there’s the twinkling lights from the 20 foot Christmas tree, the flashing neon of the big wheel and the rainbow-hued SSE Hydro right next door. For sheer sparkling extravagance in set, costume and lighting design, no expense has been spared in this year’s offering, Cinderella. Cinder’s starlit crystal coach is a particular highlight, sparkling as it flies out above the audience.

There’s the cast too, Scottish TV comedy giants Jonathan Watson and Gavin Mitchell, music, theatre and River City star Frances Thorburn, musical theatre star Keith Jack and veteran comedy duo The Krankies.

The storyline is a simplistic and very streamlined version of the traditional tale: the two ugly step-sisters are mean to poor old Cinders (though not as mean as they could be); Cinders can’t go to the ball; the prince masquerades as a servant and falls in love with our heroine in the woods; Cinders gets her glad-rags on and goes to ball in disguise; Prince and Cinders are re-united; slipper gets lost; slipper finds its owner; the lovestruck pair get married, and yes, they all live happily ever after.

There’s no slapstick, no audience participation and no sweetie throwing as expected from a ‘traditional’ panto. There is however heavy reliance on The Krankies to provide the light relief, but their smut-laden and entirely inappropriate dialogue is woefully outdated in 2018 – and this comes from someone who is very much not of the ‘snowflake generation’. Watson and Mitchell are fine comic actors and do their best with the material given and Thorburn and Jack, both gifted singers only have a few short moments to show their considerable talents. They are all supported by a hard working, top-notch adult ensemble and a well-drilled children’s troupe from JazzartUK.

Very much geared towards adults, this is a beautifully staged panto, but I can’t help think that opportunities were wasted by the script writers and director with such a talented cast of actors.

Runs until 30th December 2018

Tickets available HERE

REVIEW: Ricky McWhittington – Platform, Easterhouse, Glasgow

Senga McWhittington presides over the Oldie Weegie Sweetie Shoppie in dear old Glasgow town, but her son Ricky has different ambitions – he’s set to head to the bright lights of the big city. When Senga’s shop becomes over-run with vermine, all under the control of the stinky Queen Rat, Senga needs her boy back to help save the day. Helped by Fairy Gallus Alice and a cast of colourful pals, will the shop be saved, will Ricky fulfil his destiny and will Senga get her man? That’s the story of Ricky McWhittington, this year’s festive offering from Platform.

Every panto trope is here: the goodies and the baddies to cheer and hiss and boo; the rhyming dialogue; the fantastically clad panto dame ready to harass some unsuspecting (male) audience members; a young couple falling in love, some up-beat pop numbers to dance to, and the traditional ‘cloot’ so we can sing along together at the end.

This is a panto full of charm and heart and perfectly pitched to its young, local audience. The cast are universally excellent, the acting so good, the tiny audience members know exactly who to boo and hiss for from the start, and hearteningly the girls kick ass and can stand their ground against any foe.

This is a panto who knows its audience well – both child and adult friendly, the audience is fully engaged from start to end. An absolute charmer from a fantastic cast, in a wonderful theatre with the friendliest and most welcoming staff in the city.

Tickets are almost sold out, so be fast, details here: http://www.platform-online.co.uk/whats-on/event/392/

 

REVIEW: Snow White and the Seven Wee Muppets – Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock

It may be Snow White whose name is on the poster, but it’s the boys (dressed as women) who totally steal the show in Eastwood Park’s 2017 fun-filled panto.

With nods to the Snow White story, it’s a new take on the familiar tale. The baddie this time is wicked step mother Spella Binding (Stephen Arden), a former 80s pop diva who’s competing with ingénue Snow White in Pantoland’s version of the X-Factor. Spella’s side kick is Siri, a real live version of Apple’s famous app, (a fine-voiced Lisa McKecknie) and while there’s an apple involved it isn’t the poisoned kind but an i-Pad with a virus that infects our Snow. True love as always is the key to saving her, but refreshingly it’s all girl power here, and there’s no need for a prince to save you when you’ve got the love of your friends and family.

Snow White played by Charis Murray, Molly Muppet played by Lee Reynolds, Siri played by Lisa McKecknie, Lady Marmite played by Greig Adam and Evil Stepmother and 80s pop diva Spella, played by Stephen Arden

The goodies and the baddies are well-defined: Greig Adam’s Lady Marmite is a heroine you really want to root for and evil Spella is the perfect panto villain. Both Adam and Arden shine, the pair’s stage presence is so strong that while the others are a pleasant distraction, and undoubtedly talented, you are willing either, or both of them back on to the stage – they are where the action is. It’s heartening that there’s so much local talent in the cast and the local jokes and banter hit their mark.

This truly is entertainment for all the family, there’s no smut, just a lot of sass, songs we can all sing and dance to and a perfect running time of under two hours including the interval.

Snow White and the Seven Wee Muppets runs until Saturday 30th December at Eastwood Park Theatre and is truly family friendly.

Info, including how to book can be found at: https://www.eastwoodparktheatre.co.uk/article/8908/Snow-White

Title image: Siri played by Lisa McKecknie, Evil Stepmother and 80s pop diva Spella, played by Stephen Arden, Snow White played by Charis Murray, Molly Muppet played by Lee Reynolds and Lady Marmite played by Greig Adam

Image credit: Mark Gibson

REVIEW: Sleeping Beauty – Cumbernauld Theatre

Masters of the art of traditional storytelling with a modern twist, Cumbernauld Theatre don’t disappoint in their staging of Sleeping Beauty.

This is not an all guns blazing, special effect driven, pop hit laden extravaganza, instead it is a beautifully told, traditional tale – a real pearl in a sea of crass commercialism.

Largely following the fairy tale as we know it; the wicked witch fails to secure an invite to Princess Aurora’s christening, she damns the princess to a life of isolation as the curse of sleep will come to the young lass if she ever receives a scratch. Despite the best efforts of her doting parents, the adventurous young tike inevitable falls foul of the curse and it takes true love and a pure heart to set her free.

This gentle production is the perfect introduction to “real” theatre for tinies, and shows that you don’t need pyrotechnics or pop hits to keep them enraptured. A heart-warming, sweet and wonderfully told tale.

Runs until 24 December 2015

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