RISQUE, bawdy, but never blue, step back in time at the Old Lady of Leven Street this week, to an age when variety was King.
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KING'S THEATRE, Leven Street
Two hours of laughter, music and just a touch of mayhem, the evening follows the tried and tested formula much-loved by generations.
Opening with the Leo Sayer hit I Won’t Let The Show Go On, the host puts his unique stamp on proceedings from the off, endearing himself to all, none more than ‘front row Ronnie’.
Arguably Allan Stewart’s biggest fan, Ronnie is determined to have a chat with his hero... cue some brilliantly improvised rejoinders.
That banter continues when Stewart’s panto partner, Grant Stott, appears in the Royal Box. It’s not long, however, before he is on stage and involved in a routine with a ‘magic mic’ that would not have been out of place in Cinderella.
Backed by the excellent King’s All-Star Orchestra, the pair’s long working relationship ensures the laughs flow freely, their rapport is a joy to watch.
If comedian/magician Phil Butler only partially succeeds in following them, a sneak preview of next year’s King’s panto, Beauty and the Beast, brings tears to the eyes; Stewart as 18-year-old Belle opposite Stott’s mask-hampered Beast is a joy to behold.
Bringing the first act to an end, legendary pop trio The Three Degrees sashay onto the stage to belt out their back catalogue, hits like Take Good Care Of Yourself and Giving Up, Giving In.
It is an unforgettable spectacle, and if there is a sense of parody, they are unaware. Similarly, there is not the faintest hint of irony as they revisit their 1973 hit Dirty Ol’ Man.
The return of Effin’s favourite sons, The MacRobert Brothers, to open the second act, ensure another laugh out loud set from the panto pals, and while Fred MacAuley keeps the laughs coming, there’s no doubting that this is ‘A Stewart and Stott Special’.
The finale allows the former to rattle through his signature impressions, from Danny Dyer to Dame Edna, Kermit to Doddy, his vocal dexterity is astounding.
Then, having introduced his daughter Katie, who delivers a beautiful rendition of Run To You, the proud dad closes the show by reliving his proudest moment, playing Al Jolson on the West End. A mixed bag maybe, but one that certainly entertains on a cold winter’s night.
Run ends Saturday