It’s funny how things come round. Last week I was reading various reviews of Saving Mr Banks, the story of how Walt Disney tried to persuade the author of Mary Poppins, PL Travers, to let him make a film of the book. She didn’t like the idea of her story being played around with and, not having seen this recent film but having seen Disney’s Mary Poppins, I know that he won.
Then I read about the former Drumnadrochit holiday home of JM Barrie, who wrote another children’s classic, Peter Pan, which is for sale. And suddenly, knock me over the head with a salted kipper, but I found myself and my daughter at the King’s Theatre watching this year’s panto offering – none other than Peter Pan. Spooky or what?
Actually the answer is quite definitely not. This is a rollicking evening with every box ticked on the pantomime list. Headed by the comedic triumvirate of Allan Stewart, Andy Gray and Grant Stott, it was all here – a dame with umpteen dresses that looked as though they had been designed by Donatella Versace’s crazy aunt on an acid trip, ad-libbing, quite singular double entendres and jokes as cheesy as a sailor’s sock that had probably come in with the Ark.
As I laughed aloud, hissed and cheered, I did wonder about what JM Barrie would have thought of this. If he had been as precious as PL Travers – and what is it with all the initials I want to know – he’d have been spinning like a dervish in his grave.
It might be some time since I read the book, but I certainly don’t remember jokes about Hibs and Hearts, nor one of Wendy’s brothers being described as a “cheeky wee radge”.
What Barrie might have found more shocking was Nanny – this dame had the best pins I have ever seen on stage. Or indeed anywhere in town. If he’d seen this show she’d be a Tiller Girl rather than someone looking after children. Now if only Walt Disney had met Allan Stewart – that would be a film I’d want to see.