Tag Archives: Pantomime

NEWS: PANTO KING JOHNNY McKNIGHT RETURNS FOR MAMMY GOOSE AT THE TRON

It’s almost panto time at the Tron Theatre and they have announced that their 2018 pantomime MAMMY GOOSE (27 Nov ’18 – 6 Jan ’19) is once again written by, directed by and starring the undisputed king of panto Johnny McKnight. sponsors.

Johnny McKnight is sure to dazzle and delight as Mammy Goose, a hard-working café owner who has always had big dreams of glittering Hollyrood parties and hob-knobbing with the Scottish elite like The Krankies and Sean Batty. As for her son Jack, well, he’s in love and is considering leaving the family business! Even though her dreams have gone down the pan (the frying pan) and her life is less Debbie McGhee and more McGhee’s the Bakers, at least she can rely on her best friend Lucy who just happens to be a 6ft talking goose.

When a mysterious stranger makes her an offer- the chance to be young again, Mammy Goose has the opportunity to start her life over. But, there’s a catch. In order to be granted her wish she must trade in her beloved goose! Will Mammy Goose choose eternal youth over friendship and love (seems to have worked out okay for Kim Kardashian, hasn’t it)? Will Jack and his new pal Will dare to climb that hill together and see what’s up there? Will Lucy the Goosey taste better with BBQ or plum sauce?  There’s only one way to find out in this year’s rip-rollicking panto MAMMY GOOSE.

MAMMY GOOSE is designed by Kenny Miller, with original tunes by Musical Director Ross Brown. Festive favourites Darren Brownlie, Julie Wilson Nimmo, Ryan Ferrie and Lauren Ellis Steele are back and will be joined some new faces including Duncan Brown and Lorna McMillan for yet another unmissable all-singing, all-dancing, irreverent, gallus, festive extravaganza.

Venue:          Main Auditorium, Tron Theatre, 63 Trongate, Glasgow G1 5HB             
Dates:          Tues 27 Nov – Sun 6 Jan, times vary
Tickets:                £9 – £23 (prices vary)
Box Office:     0141 552 4267 or http://www.tron.co.uk

WHAT’S ON DECEMBER: PACE presents Jack and the Beanstalk for Christmas 2018

FEE FI FO FUM… This Christmas, PACE Theatre Company is delighted to announce its annual pantomime will be the much-loved tale of Jack and the Beanstalk. A festive treat for adults and children alike, running from 28 November to 31 December, this panto will feature hilarious characters, fantastic original music and a chorus of young actors that are (quite literally) full of beans!

CHRIS ALEXANDER will return to Paisley in the role of Dame Kitty McCurdle, following his highlycelebrated debut in last year’s production of Snowhite. He’ll appear alongside a stellar ensemble cast including: PAUL KOZINSKI (A Streetcar Named Desire, Rapture Theatre Company), EUAN BENNET (Chick Whittington, macrobert), and former PACE alumni LAURA SZALECKI (The Real Hoosewives Fae Glesga and Wee Fat Glesga Wedding, Pavillion Theatre), and ERIN HAIR (Aladdin, PACE).

PACE is also pleased to welcome back ROSS STENHOUSE as writer and director, who took the helm of his first PACE panto last year. He also appeared as Abanazar in 2010. Ross is a freelance actor and has appeared in productions in many of Scotland’s theatres including The Arches, Citizens Theatre, Traverse and the Tron. He is also a founder member and Artistic Director of Hopscotch Theatre, writing and directing many of their productions.
Jack and the Beanstalk will be produced and musically directed by ALAN ORR, whose comic performances were at the heart of PACE pantos for many years, while regular collaborator FRASER LAPPIN will bring his inimitable flair to the set and costume design. Alan Orr said, “It’s such a privilege for us to produce Paisley’s panto every year. It’s the perfect opportunity for families and friends to get together and celebrate the festivities. As ever, this year’s show will be jam-packed with laughs, music and dancing, and we believe that there’s something for everyone to enjoy!”

The cast will be completed by 4 teams of young actors, handpicked from PACE’s core youth theatre groups, enhancing the production with their boundless energy. With a reputation for producing some of the best family pantomimes in Scotland, regularly playing to audiences of more than 10,000, PACE promises a show you will never forget.

NEWS: KEITH JACK JOINS GAVIN MITCHELL& JONATHAN WATSON IN SEC ARMADILLO PANTO

Musical Theatre star Keith Jack joins the SEC Armadillo pantomime Cinderella as the handsome Prince Charming

The SEC Armadillo have announced that Any Dream Will Do finalist Keith Jack will join the cast of this year’s pantomime adventure Cinderella as Prince Charming. Keith joins Scottish panto legends The Krankies, who will star as Baron Hardup and Buttons, Still Game star Gavin Mitchell, and Two Doors Down’s Jonathan Watson as The Ugly Sisters and River City’s Frances Thorburn as The Fairy Godmother on the stage of the SEC Armadillo from 12 December.

Shortly after appearing on the BBC talent search Any Dream Will Do, Keith joined the UK Tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in which he played The Narrator and later returned to the production as Joseph. He created the lead role of Charlie in the new musical Only the Brave, which premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, played the role of Alistair in the Edinburgh festival and UK premier of Sincerely Mr Toad and played Ralph Rackstraw in HMS Pinafore. Keith is currently touring the UK in Fame as Nick.

Keith can be heard on the soundtrack for the award-winning film, The Dreams of Kings and also a new radio play entitled Unholiest Order, starring Colin Baker and Wendy Padbury. Keith’s first studio album, This Time, went straight into the Top 20. His second album, An Evening at the Musicals, and third album, A Little Bit More of Me, also hit the Top 30. He completed three sell-out UK Tours of these albums. Keith can also be heard on John Barrowman’s album, Music, Music, Music. He also features on the cast recordings of two new musicals, Sincerely, Mr Toad and Only The Brave. Keith’s newly-released fourth album, Movie Nights, features classic songs from iconic movies

Executive Producer of Cinderella Jonathan Kiley said “we’re delighted to have the vocal talent of Keith Jack joining the cast of our SEC pantomime. We’re already working on the script for this year’s show which promises comedy for all the family in a show packed with spectacular special effects”

Debbie McWilliams, Head of Live Entertainment and Ticketing, SEC added: “Once again, Qdos has brought us a stellar line up for this year’s panto.  Keith will be the perfect Prince Charming and we look forward to welcoming him and the rest of the cast to the Armadillo”

Cinderella takes place at the SEC Armadillo from 12 – 30 December 2018. Tickets priced from £21.47 (including admin fee) are available from www.sec.co.uk

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: 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

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

REVIEW: Peter Pan – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

It’s 50 years since the King’s Theatre launched its first family pantomime and almost a year ago to the day since it was announced that the 50th pantoversary show would be the never-before-seen Peter Pan. A host of panto favourites and TV talent were cast: Glasgow’s favourite panto villain Gavin Mitchell, riding high on the success of a record-breaking run at mega-arena The Hydro in the recently resurrected Still Game stage show would take the role of Captain Hook, Scottish TV stars Greg McHugh (Gary Tank Commander, Fresh Meat), Scott Fletcher (Gary Tank Commander, River City) would be Smee and Peter Pan and comedian and Capital Radio presenter Des Clarke, Starkey. Stakes were also set high when it was revealed that an expected 85000 tickets would be sold, a daunting fact that would also test the mettle of most actors.

So when Captain Hook’s ship found itself sailing into some stormy waters; panto favourite Mitchell had to withdraw from his pivotal role due to injury, only to be replaced by Luther‘s Warren Brown who then pulled out 24 hours before curtain up on opening night, it was going to take the most seasoned of veterans to step into the breach and onto the deck of the Jolly Roger at the eleventh hour. That veteran turned out to be Alex Bourne, an established West End actor, having starred as Buddy in the Buddy Holly Story, played six years as Khashoggi in We Will Rock You and Oliver Award nominated for his dual role as Fred Graham/Petruchio in Kiss Me Kate at Chichester Festival Theatre and the Old Vic.

It is testament to Bourne’s professionalism and talent that with a mere few days rehearsal we get a word perfect, classic pantomime villain. The only pity being, that having heard Bourne’s wonderful voice in previous roles, we don’t get to hear it here. He deserves applause for merely agreeing to take this on, that he does it so well deserves a standing ovation.

This is no radical re-boot of J.M. Barrie’s classic tale nor is it a slavishly faithful re-telling, rather its a local re-working that sticks fairly closely to the major plot lines of the story: the Darlings are asleep in their beds in Glasgow when Peter Pan comes to visit, taking them on the adventure of a lifetime to Neverland via Tiger Lily’s camp, Dead Man’s Rock and of course Captain Hook’s Jolly Roger.

As with almost all pantos, subtlety has gone out of the window, though not too far in this case; the script gets laughs in all the right places from the audience of all ages and manages to refrain from cheap innuendo to do so, the design is relatively tasteful and naturalistic rather than garish and tacky and the music is a mixed bag of relatively recent hits and familiar old classics.

However the amplification levels of the orchestra, who it must be said were absolutely top notch, seemed to be set to stun or should I say deafen – coming in somewhere between road drill and jumbo jet take off, rendering the vocals of Joanne McGuinness (Wendy) and Jenny Douglas (Tiger Lily) inaudible; both have proved to have strong vocals in other productions so maybe a better balance is called for.

The stand out star though is McHugh, who utilises his persona as the effete Gary Tank Commander to full effect. With a raise of an eyebrow or a deadpan aside he has the audience in tears. He has you wishing the scenes away when anyone else is on just to see what he comes up with next. McHugh is ably supported by fellow comedian Des Clarke who, in his third appearance in panto at the King’s, knows just how to wrap a Glasgow audience around his little finger. The ensemble and supporting cast too deliver solid performances throughout.

It all adds up to become classic, family friendly entertainment of the highest order.

Runs until Sun 11th January 2015

REVIEW: Aladdin – macrobert, Stirling

Scotland’s undisputed King of Panto, Johnny McKnight serves up the first treat of the holiday season with his disco-tastic, glitterball spangled version of Aladdin at the macrobert in Stirling.

There are afros, flares and platforms a-plenty as well as enough synthetic fabric to start a disco inferno as we boogie on down to Discotopia. Along with her two kids Wishee Washee (Robert Jack) and Aladdin (Dawn Sievewright), dear old Marge O’Reen Twankey (Andy Clark) runs the last launderette in town, the Dream Cuisine and Dry Clean, an establishment which does a natty turn in pies and bridies as well as washing and ironing.

Marge’s eldest Aladdin is in love with the campest prince in town (Martin McCormick) and as it ever was in Pantoland, the path of true love never runs smooth. In “the worst case of panto romance ever seen”, Aladdin and the blonde hair-flicking, disco-posing object of her affections encounter opposition and obstacles in the form of the Prince’s class-conscious mother (Helen McAlpine) and evil “Aunty” Lilith (a spectacularly clad and suitably menacing Julie Brown), and of course there’s the small matter of a rusty old lamp hidden in a deep dark cave.

As with the best pantomimes there’s as much here for adults as children, there are canny contemporary cultural and political references for the grown ups and the requisite number of slapstick, bum and bogie jokes for the teenies. The music too, manages to include the widest demographic, from 70’s disco and pop classics such as: “Lost in Music”, “Night Fever” and “We Built This City” albeit this time on sausage rolls not rock ‘n’ roll! through current hits: Pharrell’s “Happy” and a knock-out version of Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” from Mrs. Twankey ( an hysterical Andy Clark) to the ubiquitous “Let it Go” from Frozen, which as well as being a sing-a-long favourite with the young audience, provides the perfect vehicle to highlight Dawn Sievewright’s stunning vocals.

McKnight eschews the ordinary panto fare and the writing remains clever and on-point throughout, never needing to resort to cheap smuttiness or crudity to get the laughs. There’s also an excellent take on the famous Abbot and Costello “Who’s on First” sketch, whose wordplay goes down a treat with the young audience,proving that classic writing never fails to be funny.

Complementing the writing is a truly outstanding cast led by some of Scotland’s most highly regarded and accomplished theatre actors. Andy Clark as our beloved dame, deserves a medal, not only for his comedy skills but for agreeing to wear Marge O’Reen’s eye-watering ensembles, all of which seem to feature a bikini!, each entrance is accompanied by gasps and in one instance a covering of the eyes in disbelief at what we are seeing. Robert Jack (a familiar face from the much-loved Gary, Tank Commander) is a revelation, his timing and physical comedy skills are of the highest order, managing to raise laughs even when he’s not at the centre of the action. Dawn Sievewright is a fabulously feisty Aladdin and her vocals are world class. Hilarious support is provided by Helen McAlpine (The Queen/Jeanie) and Martin McCormick (Prince Jasper) – there really is not a weak link anywhere in this production.

Mention must be made of the quality of the set design by Karen Tennent and the seamless transitions between the multiple changes, which would put most larger theatres to shame.

There’s no magic carpet here: “we’ve no got the budget”, but this Aladdin is all the better for it. This truly is a Christmas cracker, it’s a witty, wonderful, disco-tastic spectacular for the whole family – the perfect start to the festive season.

Runs until 4th January 2015

Tickets available here: http://www.macrobert.org/event/aladdin/