Tag Archives: Pantomime

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

NEWS: Puss in Boots the Christmas Panto at the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall

OH YES IT IS… following the success of their first panto Aladdin in 2016, the world’s oldest surviving music hall, is feline furry good as an ensemble cast present the purr-fect panto this festive season as part of their 160th anniversary.

 

The Britannia Panopticon, Glasgow’s much loved music hall becomes a riot of colour once again with this un-fur-gettable festive adventure, the A listed venue’s second Christmas panto and the first event to be announced as part of their 160th anniversary celebrations. 

We join the story to find the land of Panoptica in peril from the evil Giant Blunderbore and his assistant Demon Moonshade. Our hero Tom has returned home to inherit his father’s estate before the evil giant steals it. Could Tom’s cat hold the key to solving all of Panoptica’s problems? Will Harry ever find out what happened to his lost love Kitty? Could the princess Felicia ever fall in love with a commoner like Tom and will her parents Queen Euphemia and King Richard allow it? Created for audiences young and older alike, this charming adventure really is the cat’s whiskers. 

Grant F Kidd, writer, director and performer, said: “Following the success of Aladdin I was delighted to be asked to return to write and direct panto for The Britannia Panopticon. The building really does have a warm atmosphere, although not literally as they are still fundraising for heating so please give generously. 

Puss in Boots is a wonderful rags to riches story which I’m glad to put my own twist on. It’s one of the few remaining traditional pantos and although it fell out of favour in late 1980s, it has started to make a comeback following a number of Hollywood animations. Puss in Boots is a perfect match for the space as it’s a panto which could have been performed in music halls. Our panto focuses on the more traditional aspects of fun and silliness and it’s what audiences loved last year. I am also proud that once again we look to be the most affordable panto in Glasgow with tickets only costing £7 for adults and £5 for children & over 60’s meaning that you can bring the whole family for the same price as a single ticket in some larger theatres. I am pleased to be joined by Sally Starshine as the Demon Moonshade and Christopher Hume, who played the Genie in Aladdin, will be returning to play King Richard and of course I will be donning a frock as “one of Scotland’s finest panto dames” (Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman 2016) Auntie Effie to take on the role of Queen Euphemia.”

Grant F Kidd was born and raised in Ayrshire, South West Scotland where he still lives although thinks of Glasgow as his cultural home. He is a city boy stuck in the country. Grant is a lifelong panto fan and even before he was let on stage he made sure he was heard when at six years old the local panto dame decided to make a joke about his home town and he made sure to let her/him know he wouldn’t be standing for anymore of it.

In 2016, Grant created the character of Auntie Effie, finally letting her out and onto the stage. She has had a rare old time up and down the country for corporate and charity events and was delighted in December 2016 when Joyce McMillan of The Scotsman named him as ‘one of Scotland’s finest panto dames’. Auntie Effie is Queen Euphemia in Puss and Boots at the Panopticon in December 2017.  

Previous panto credits: Tutti Jarrod in Beauty and the Beast – billed as Grant F Kidd. Widow Twankey (Britannia Panopticon), Mother Goose (Britannia Panopticon) – billed as Auntie Effie 

Built in 1857 by Thomas Gildard and H.M. Robert Macfarlane, The Britannia Panopticon has hosted some of the biggest names on the Music hall circuit. In 1906 Stan Laurel made his first stage appearance there on amateur night. In that same year A. E. Pickard bought the building and changed its name to the Panopticon. He also undertook some major works, installing a freak show, a roof top carnival and a waxworks. He also excavated the basement and installed an indoor zoo. The Panopticon was one of the first buildings in Glasgow to become powered by electricity and one of the first cinemas in Scotland. It closed in 1938 when it was sold to a tailors and converted to a workshop. It is currently being conserved by The Friends of Britannia Panopticon Music Hall Trust SCIO and it is now protected as a category A listed building.

The Britannia Panopticon is the oldest surviving music hall in the world. The Friends of Britannia Panopticon Music Hall Trust (SCIO) runs the theatre as a living museum and venue to champion and fundraise for the future survival, conservation and preservation of this rare and special Category A listed building. They aim to be the most sustainable, accessible and cherished historic theatre in Glasgow by 2027. Support them by donating towards their capital project. www.britanniapanopticon.org

Cast & company

Written and directed by Grant F Kidd 

The cast: Auntie Effie aka Grant F Kidd (Queen Euphemia), Liliana Finucane (Kitty) Sally Starshine (Demon Moonshade), Stuart John Irvine (Harry), Princess Felicia (Beth McLeish) and Anthony Johansen (Tom).

www.britanniapanopticon.org | @BritPanopticon | @PanopticonPanto | #PantopticonPuss

Running time: 75 minutes with 15 min interval | Age restriction: 3+ and 18+ (late evening show) 

Listings information

Puss in Boots 

The Britannia Panopticon, 117 Trongate, Glasgow, G1 5HD

Friday 8th at 7pm, Saturday 9th at 2pm and 7pm and Sunday 10th December at 2pm (no 7pm performance) | £7 (£5) 

Saturday 16that 2pm and 7pm and Sunday 18th December at 2pm (no 7pm performance) | £7 (£5) 

Friday 22nd at 7pm and Saturday 23rd December at 2pm and 7pm | £7 (£5) 

Adults ONLY performance: Friday 15th December | 8pm | £7

Box office: Tickets from www.tickets-scotland.com 

NEWS: GENEROUS TRON CUSTOMERS PAY IT FORWARD WITH PANTO

It’s almost panto time at the Tron Theatre and this year’s offering, Alice in Weegieland (1 Dec ’177 Jan ’18), once again by Johnny McKnight, promises to take audiences ‘doon the stank’ to the weird and fantastical Weegieland populated by magical talking creatures and a power-hungry queen with a penchant for jam tarts (the cake, not the football team).

This year’s run also welcomes the first recipients of the 2016 Pay It Forward initiative which was set up to enable children who experience disadvantage to visit the theatre.  Generous audience members at last year’s performances of The Snaw Queen donated over £10,000 which has enabled The Tron to offer free tickets, refreshments and treats to groups including the Scottish Refugee Council, West of Scotland Deaf Children’s Society, NSPCC and Daisy Chain. Pay It Forward has become a popular way of helping theatres increase access to their work and it feels like a particularly worthwhile initiative for the Tron to undertake during the festive season. As Kenny Fulton, from CrossReach – Daisy Chain Early Years Project said:

“We are so grateful here at CrossReach’s Daisy Chain to have been involved in the Tron’s Pay It Forward. We all have those formative memories from childhood of trips to the beach, special holidays and of course the Panto! For many there simply isn’t the chance to experience these performances and bringing children and families together to have this wonderful shared memory means so much. A massive thank you to the generosity of so many for making this possible!”

Alice in Weegieland will be designed by king of glitz and Christmas glamour, Kenny Miller with original music by Ross Brown. Panto favourites Darren Brownlie and Julie Wilson Nimmo are back and will be joined by Scott Fletcher, Jo Freer, Lauren Steele and Daisy Ann Fletcher for an all-singing, all-dancing, irreverent patter-filled festive extravaganza.

LISTINGS INFORMATION
Venue:          Main Auditorium, Tron Theatre, 63 Trongate, Glasgow G1 5HB
Dates:          1 DECEMBER ’177 JANUARY ’18, times vary
Tickets:         £11-£20
Box Office:     0141 552 4267 or http://www.tron.co.uk

 

WHAT’S ON DECEMBER: Jock and the Beanstalk at The Shed, Shawlands

Poor Jock lives with his Maw and both of them are skint. Then one day he meets an old man who gives him magic beans which grows into a giant beanstalk. At the top of the beanstalk lives the ugly giant. Is Jock brave enough to fight the giant and get hold of the golden goose that lays the golden eggs!!! Family panto with plenty of song, dance and audience participation.

From 15th to 17th December at The Shed, Shawlands, Langside Avenue, Glasgow

NEWS: Snow White fun day launches 2017 panto at Eastwood Park

Eastwood Park Theatre launched their 2017 panto Snow White and the Seven Wee Muppets with a Snow White themed fun day today (Sunday 14 October).

Orla Keenan, 4, from Busby is pictured with Snow White at Eastwood Park Theatre’s Snow White Fun Day.
Children got their ‘Snow Selfies’, took part in the ‘Search for Snow White’ treasure trail before the Hairy Maclary show.
Tickets for Snow White, which takes place from 18-30 December, are available now:  http://www.eastwoodparktheatre.co.uk/boxoffice

 

NEWS: Casting announced for Citz Cinderella

Glaswegians young and old can expect a fun and lively re-telling of this classic fairytale, with plenty of the hallmark ingredients that have earned the Citizens Theatre a reputation for unique Christmas shows.

Citizens Theatre Artistic Director Dominic Hill – alongside his frequent collaborator, composer Nikola Kodjabashia – will bring his inimitable style to this production, deploying a handpicked ensemble cast to present this familiar story of magic and true love, with a twist.

Peter Collins, whose comic performances have been at the heart of the theatre’s past two Christmas shows, returns to the company for his third festive season in a row. Peter’s most recent appearance at the Citizens was in Dominic Hill’s highly acclaimed production of The Oresteia: This Restless House (2017).

Also returning to the Citizens stage for Cinderella is Irene Allan, whose performance as the Witch in Hansel & Gretel (2016) was described by the Daily Record as “utterly fabulous.” This year, she takes on the role of Cinderella’s stepmother.

Caroline Deyga, in her Citizens debut, is expected to wow audiences with the voice and spirit that saw her jointly nominated for ‘Best Actress in a Supporting Role’ at the Olivier Awards 2017, as part of the eight-strong cast of the award winning Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour (NTS).

She will be joined by fellow Citz debutant Hannah Howie who, alongside Deyga, will bring her ‘strong comic timing’ (The Stage) to the production as one of Cinderella’s ugly sisters.

As part of the theatre’s commitment to nurturing new talent, the Citizens is putting its two Actor Interns Nicholas Ralph and Sinéad Sharkey centre stage for this production. Nicholas’s internship is funded by the Robertson Trust.

The company is also delighted to welcome to the stage Jatinder Singh Randhawa, who will be taking a break from the Citizens Theatre’s front of house team. Jatinder recently graduated from North Lanarkshire College with a BA in Acting.

The cast is completed by actor and physical theatre practioner Malcolm Shields, who brings over two decades of experience on stage and screen to this production. Last year Malcolm made a memorable cameo in Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake and first appeared at the Citz as Franco Begbie in the theatre’s landmark 1994 adaptation of Trainspotting.

Family tickets for Cinderella start from £33.50 for a family of three to £77.50 for a family of five.

Dates: Tuesday 28 November 2017 – Sunday 31 December 2018

Tickets: Adult £22.50 – £14.50 Child £12.50 – £8.50 Family Tickets available by telephone bookings or in person at the theatre

GROUP BOOKINGS One additional free ticket with every 10 tickets booked

SCHOOLS GROUPS All performances £8.50

YOUTH GROUPS £10 standard, £11 peak

ADULT GROUPS (10 or more) Buy 10 tickets and get £2.50 off each ticket

FAMILY DAYS Sat 9 & Sun 10 Dec 10am – 12pm £6.50 per person A fun workshop for 6-12 year olds and their adult companion exploring the story and characters of Cinderella.  Get up close to costumes and props from past Christmas shows and tread the boards of our main stage!

RELAXED PERFORMANCES 13 Dec 10.30am & 7pm Adult: £15 Child: £8.50 Particularly suitable for those with an autistic spectrum condition or additional sensory or communication needs.  Please note there will be some alterations to lighting and sound effects and a relaxed attitude towards noise and movement at this performance.

CONCESSIONS  £3 off full price tickets for Senior Citizens, Disabled and Students £5 Gorbals Card (max 4 tickets) & Unemployed

NEWS: From New York to New Street for Paisley Arts Centre panto star

Actor Chris Alexander is swapping New York for New Street, in Paisley to take the role of the Dame in this year’s PACE panto, Snow White.

Scots-born Chris performed in New York as part of Ramesh Meyyappan’s production of Butterfly, which was part of the Brits Off Broadway Festival, at the 59E59 Theatre, in Manhattan, last year and earlier this year, Chris was back in the USA with the same production – an adaptation of Madame Butterfly – staged in Millersville, Pennsylvania.

But the Paisley Arts Centre, in New Street will be Chris’s stage from November 25 until December 30 when he stars in the pantomime Snow White.

Chloe Lupton

Dani Heron

Also appearing in the panto, written and directed by Ross Stenhouse are actors Chloe Lupton as Snow White; Dani Heron as the Evil Queen; Danny Holmes as The Prince and Nathan Byrne, taking the comic lead. And of course, there will also be 100 local youngsters who are members of PACE, taking part in the hilarious adaptation of the traditional panto.

Danny Holmes

Nathan Byrne

Tickets only recently went on sale and already more than half the seats have been snapped up.

The show is produced by PACE panto stalwart, Alan Orr who also takes on the role of musical director. Alan said: “Everyone at PACE is working their socks off to make this the biggest and best panto we’ve ever done. We’ll be performing a magical, fun-filled family show with laughter every step of the way and loads of audience participation.
Our Dame, Chris Alexander is a very experienced actor and is a really funny guy. He’s got natural comic timing and has experience performing in pantomime many times before.”

Tickets, priced from £9.50p are available from the Arts Centre Box Office, by logging on to www.boxoffice.renfrewshire.gov.uk <http://www.boxoffice.renfrewshire.gov.uk> or by calling 0300 300 1210.

NEWS: Tickets now on sale for King’s panto 2017

The King’s Theatre in Glasgow has confirmed its pantomime for this year’s festive season, Sleeping Beauty.

Hot-off-the heels on the recent production of Cinderella, the magical tale of Sleeping Beauty will open on Saturday 2 December 2017 and runs until Sunday 7 January 2018.

The classic story will tell of a beautiful Princess who is given an enchanted spinning wheel for her birthday by her evil godmother, Carabosse. With just one prick of her finger, the Princess is struck by a cruel curse, forcing her to sleep for 100 years. Will true love prevail with the handsome Prince Charming breaking the evil spell? Can the Princess’ hilarious best friend Muddles help save the town? Who will outwit the evil Enchantress and foil her wicked plans? With magic, music, comedy and special effects, Sleeping Beauty is the pantomime of your dreams!

This year’s King’s Theatre panto will be produced by Qdos Entertainment following a new partnership with the firm and ATG.

The move comes after Kevin Wood, Chief Executive of First Family Entertainment (FFE), after 12 successful years of producing pantomimes for the King’s Theatre and other venues across the UK, decided to step down this month to return to independent producing. Associate producers Laura Taylor and George Wood will also be leaving the company to pursue new opportunities.

FFE was set up in 2005 to produce traditional pantomimes with high production values. Since then many exceptional artists have made their pantomime debut for the company including Pamela Anderson, Jo Brand, Simon Callow, David Hasselhoff, Barry Humphries, Priscilla Presley, Torvill and Dean, and Henry Winkler. The shows, with sets and costumes designed by Terry Parsons, garnered critical acclaim and broke box office records. Qdos Entertainment will now build further on the successful tradition of pantomime at the King’s Theatre.

Led by Nick Thomas and Michael Harrison, Qdos Entertainment is the world’s largest pantomime producer with over 600 productions to its credit. Qdos is renowned for star-led comedy, spectacle, and innovative special effects. Qdos’ 2016/17 pantomime headliners included Paul O’Grady, Julian Clary, Amanda Holden, John Barrowman, Craig Revel Horwood, Marti Pellow, Shane Richie, Jessie Wallace, Brian Conley and Gok Wan.

Scottish panto greats including Gerard Kelly, Karen Dunbar, Rikki Fulton, Elaine C Smith and Walter Carr have previously starred in Sleeping Beauty so stay tuned for casting announcements.

James Haworth, General Manager at the King’s Theatre, said: “After a fantastic run of Cinderella over the festive period I’m delighted to welcome another traditional fairy tale to the King’s this year.

“Sleeping Beauty has been hugely popular with our audiences in the past and it’s a story that all ages will love and have everybody excited about Christmas already.

“We’ve had a great time working with Kevin Wood and Family First Entertainment over the years and I would like to thank them for all of the wonderful pantos they have produced for us.

“I’m looking forward stepping into our next chapter of pantoland with Qdos Entertainment and welcoming another shimmering panto to the King’s in December.”

REVIEW: The Snaw Queen – Tron Theatre, Glasgow

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub.

The news that Johnny McKnight was back at the helm of the Tron panto for 2016 was met with almost universal relief. After a slight misstep last year, Scotland’s king of modern panto is back in Glasgow and The Snaw Queen marks a return to the top-class festive form that audiences have come to expect from the acclaimed Glasgow theatre.

While it may appear from the title that there’s some connection with the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, the reality is an eye-wateringly colourful, glitter-strewn, often incoherent romp – and it’s none the worse for that. Kristine Cagney Kringle and her toy workshop are flat-out preparing for the festive season. However, there’s a magic mirror, that if broken will plunge Weegietown into a Christmas-less eternal winter. Poor sweet Rudolph succumbs to the evil magic of the mirror and transforms into the Snaw Queen (a Marilyn Monroe look-alike in an eye-popping, diamante-strewn, flesh coloured body suit). Kristine, Elvira the Elf and Olive (the other reindeer) embark on an, at times, psychedelic journey to obtain the magic ingredients needed to reverse the spell. Throw into the mix Elvis the Elf, a giant pink bunny, a monochrome My Fair Lady-inspired number set on Glasgow’s infamous underground, an hilarious ‘disco dolly smack down’ and theatrical in-jokes about the National Theatre of Scotland’s James Plays and Broadway blockbuster Hamilton, and you may well get the impression that this isn’t your average panto – you’d be correct.

McKnight is a master of treading the fine line between zany fun for the babes and naughty humour for the grown ups and while it’s mind-bendingly confusing at times, it’s also hysterically funny. The humour never lets up and the sheer energy of the cast drives the action along at a fair lick. Traditionalists will be happy to know that the obligatory sing-along, sweetie throwing and audience harassment are all here.

It may not be the biggest pantomime in town, either in terms of size or budget, but the Tron always punches far above its weight in terms of entertainment. If its kaleidoscopic colour and surreal storytelling you’re after, all with a social conscience thrown in and belly laughs from start to end – then this will be your bag. A riot for the senses and a welcome relief from this grey old world we live in.

Runs until 7 January 2017 | Image: John Johnston

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