Sleeping Beauty and Peter Pan fly west for Christmas - oh yes they do!

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GO WEST! That’s what The Village People would have done. You could do worse than follow their advice once you’ve sampled the Christmas offerings the Capital’s theatre land has to offer.

Just 45 minutes along the M8, there’s a panto war raging. John Barrowman and The Krankies join the battle later this month when they open in Robinson Crusoe And The Caribbean Pirates at the SECC.

In the meantime, however, Sleeping Beauty and The Magical Adventures Of Peter Pan are already up and running, just waiting for you to check them out.

SLEEPING BEAUTY

THE Glasgow Kings Theatre panto prides itself on tradition, that has seen everyone from Rikki Fulton to Stanley Baxter, Elaine C Smith to Gerard Kelly front its annual Christmas production.

The loss of Kelly last year left the theatre with a dilemma - one it has taken until now to solve. Instead of placing all their hopes on one star name, this year they have gone for the ensemble approach, sprinkling their production of Sleeping Beauty with some well kent Scottish faces, a couple of Kings’ stalwarts and a newcomer in well-versed panto comic Arron Usher, who readers may know from his ten years fronting Brunton pantos in Musselburgh.

Joining him in this fast and energetic take on the popular fairytale are Altered Images and Gregory’s Girl star Claire Grogan, who makes a deliciously evil Carabosse, the slighted witch who casts the spell that puts Princess Beauty to sleep for a hundred years.

Beauty, comes in the shapely form of River City’s Lorna Anderson, whose strong vocals are the perfect compliment to those of her Prince Charming, or in this case Prince Joseph, Dalkeith’s Keith Jack.

Together they make a charming couple, as do Kathryn Howden and Steven McNicoll as the Queen and King, each bringing a warmth to their extended cameos.

Tony Roper adds some additional comedy as Carabosse’s rather soft henchman, while at the heart of the action is west coast comedienne Karen Dunbar as Nanny, firing off the one-liners and comic ditties with expert ease.

Gallus, best sums up this year’s collection of songs and gags at The Kings, which the company deliver with an infectious energy and enthusiasm.

Kings, Glasgow, until January 8, 2012, various times, £12.25-£26.75, 0844 871 7648

THE MAGICAL ADVENTURES OF PETER PAN

THE title of The Pavilion’s 2011/12 panto is a bit of misnomer as it suggests the boy who never grew up is about to have a series of adventures... which in turn suggests a narrative. There is none.

That said, Scotland’s National Theatre Of Variety does exactly what it says on the tin - produces a music hall-style panto, in which the focus is firmly on the gags, routines and songs, all of which unfold with an anarchic approach best described as hit or miss.

Jim Davidson at the heart of the chaos makes life on stage look easy - few can touch him when it comes to understanding the art of panto.

As is usual, Dean Park insists on losing his wig as the production’s resident Dame, and plays on the patriotic tendencies of the audience, while Johnny Mac, in the titular role, ekes out what he can from his fleeting appearances.

Highlights include a couple of classic panto routines - If I Were Not Upon A Stage and The Magic Spot - some energetic dance routines and, of course, take your eye off Davidson for a second and you’re likely to miss something.

Pavilion, Glasgow, until January 21, various times, 2012, £19-£21, 0141-332 1846