Tag Archives: Stirling

NEWS: Maw Goose will Strut Her Stuff in 2021 at Macrobert

After careful consideration and in light of the ongoing restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 lockdown, Macrobert Arts Centre has delayed this year’s panto, Maw Goose, until 2021.

Julie Ellen (Macrobert’s Artistic Director) said:

‘We have been exploring all the options around our annual panto and this has been a hugely difficult decision to make.  We are looking forward to seeing Maw Goose ‘strut her stuff’ in 2021. Good Panto takes time and planning, it is a year-round commitment for all of us – Macrobert staff, the creative team, the cast and the members of our young cast – and at this stage we just can’t balance delivering a fantastic panto experience for our audience with making sure we keep everyone safe, both of which are key priorities for us all.’

The annual panto is the organisation’s biggest annual investment in terms of both time and money and like creative organisations across the UK Macrobert Arts Centre has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown. Their priority is being here for everyone in the future as a key part of the cultural community in Stirling, Forth Valley and further afield, delaying Maw Goose will not only help with those plans, but ensure audiences get the all-singing, all-dancing panto extravaganza promised by a Macrobert Panto.

Julie continued:

‘It’s a difficult time for the arts community as a whole, but without welcoming our audiences into the building for the full range of creative experiences we offer, it is a big challenge for us financially. We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from our audiences, partners and other supporters, on so many levels, but we need to make plans to help ensure Macrobert’s future and we look forward to sharing Maw Goose with everyone next year when we can properly do it justice.‘

The Macrobert Team will be in touch with all bookers to transfer tickets or to discuss alternative options.

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/