Karen Koren: In festive mood at Festival Theatre

Peter Pan with Allan Stewart, Grant Stott and Andy Gray. Pic: Comp
Peter Pan with Allan Stewart, Grant Stott and Andy Gray. Pic: Comp
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I HAVE been very much enjoying the beginning of the Christmas festivities with a brace of theatre outings.

First, I attended the press night of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas at the Festival Theatre. The show is based on the 1954 film White Christmas, starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney (George’s aunt) and Vera Ellen, so the nostalgia is right up there.

The music, as you might expect, is wonderful and perfect for the seniors among us, which includes me.

I absolutely loved it. Though the actors are not quite as iconic as Bing, Danny, Rosemary and Vera, they are still excellent - the two best performers, in my opinion, being Wendi Peters, who really belted out her songs and 12-year-old local schoolgirl Erin Mooney, who I could see performing in Tim Minchin’s Matilda!

It is a really great show, with sumptuous costumes and one that will get families into the Christmas spirit.

The other show, and my favourite, was the King’s panto, Peter Pan, with the brilliant team of Allan Stewart, Andy Gray and Grant Stott. And what a joyous, happy panto it is too - the best in years, due to the new look, courtesy of producer Michael Harrison and director Ed Curtis.

Michael is the producer responsible for the musical The Bodyguard and I Dreamed A Dream, in which Elaine C Smith plays Susan Boyle.

This Peter Pan has an Edinburgh feel to it, with big production values, good costumes, sets and a really strong cast.

The Peter Pan story, set in Edinburgh’s New Town, finds Mr and Mrs Smee (Andy and Allan) following the children to Neverland. Grant plays the dastardly, but warm, villain Captain Hook. There are too many funny lines to mention. There’s also a nice homage to the word Balloon. Don’t miss it.