Nostalgia: Panto season

THE curtain is up on this year’s festive frolics – it’s panto season!

Edinburgh’s triumphant trio – Allan Stewart, Andy Gray and Grant Stott – are tearing up audiences as they perform Cinderella at the King’s, while at the Brunton Theatre, Puss in Boots is stalking the stage.

The Christmas favourite has a proud history in the Capital, with the tradition of panto dating back centuries.

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Originally silent, panto is now anything but, with performers and audiences alike expected to join together to create a raucous atmosphere.

Panto has always attracted participants willing to don knee-high boots and outlandish false moustaches for months at a time, as our pictures of city pantos from the past show.

In 1988, any thoughts ballet dancer Wayne Sleep had of a quiet, restful Christmas were shattered when he stepped into stockings and a frock to play Cinderella’s mum at the King’s.

At the same theatre in 1972, Scottish actors Bill Simpson and Russell Hunter took on the role of the Ugly Sisters in their own production of Cinderella.

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But this wasn’t the only pantomime to have entertained crowds at the King’s over the years, with Jack and the Beanstalk, Babes in the Wood, Mother Goose, and Sleeping Beauty among a few of the others.

It is Cinderella again that has crowds flocking to the Lyceum this year, just as they did when Jane Argyle took on the title role in 1974.

Six years earlier, the same theatre was celebrating the festivities not with a panto, but a production of A Christmas Carol where Scrooge, played by Walter Carr, was confronted by the ghostly guise of Michael O’Halloran.