With bangs, comfier seats and plenty of glitter, the panto returns to the King’s Theatre.
* * * *
This year the tale is Mother Goose and with energy, enthusiasm and disco balls, director Paul Elliott has put on a fun-filled, family show.
The set-up is simple. The impoverished village of Lochforest is finding it hard to pay the rent to the uppity Squire McFerret. However, with the help of the young and hip Fairy McSquirrell-Smyth, Mother Goose receives a payday when her goos Priscilla learns how to lay golden eggs. But all is not as it seems. The conniving Demon Vanity holds a deep hatred for Mother Goose, wanting to destroy her and take away her wondrous Priscilla.
Allan Stewart provides a textbook panto dame performance as Mother Goose, cramming more fun into his bursting dress than should be possible. Grant Stott also fills his part well as Vanity. The villain’s cruel, camp and ridiculous rhymes provide plenty of boo-ing material. The ensemble is also superb. With smiles that look like they’ve been stapled there, they provide an all-singing and all-dancing backdrop to the slapstick fable. Not even fluffed lines can stop the cast and they manage to turn them into the funniest moments of the evening.
This is all amplified by brilliant staging. With flying, sparks and words written into water, the amount of wallop stuffed into this show is a spectacle to behold.
Unfortunately, it’s not all perfect. Although the primary trio – made up of Stewart, Stott and Andy Gray as “Elvis” McSporran – are fantastic, they don’t have enough time on stage together. This is frustrating as it makes the show feel disjointed. This is mirrored in the story. Although it is filled with laughter, the plot can feel muddled, moving at breakneck speed from Gooseland to a trial room to a haunted forest.
However, not enough has gone afoul here to ruin this festive extravaganza. With plenty of variety, puns and all out silliness, the King’s has laid a golden egg.
Run ends January 20.