Already a staple in the calendar as the ‘must see’ panto at the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh, the (now) established team of Allan Stewart, Andy Gray and Grant Stott return for Allan Stewart’s Big Big Variety Show.
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King’s Theatre, Leven Street
Variety is the key, with songs, music and comedy, much in the traditional meaning in theatre, and latterly in clubs, appealing to a wide age range.
Attracting a mature audience I expect they all know and love the King’s panto year after year and this time they return without the kids or grandchildren and absolutely lap it up.
The King’s House Orchestra are a quality outfit for a start, and from the opening number they provide a big sound for Allan’s vocals with his impressive range.
It seems he can handle anything, though, with his comedy sketches slotting seamlessly between songs, stand-up and music.
Did I say variety? Jo Caulfield has her Fringe years of (stand up) comedy to know what areas to cover, Sarah Chandler’s all girl sax band Saxation are a revelation with sax standards arranged and choreographed for four instruments, and British/Armenian comic Kev Orkian in character mesmerised with his piano skills and amazed with his comic timing and audience interaction (yes, I did say variety).
Andy Gray and Grant Stott have formed a comic team by now, as they do over the Christmas shows, and all three have a cameo in character as the Highland folk trio from Effin called The McRoberts Brothers and there’s almost a spin-off show here waiting to be written.
Andy Gray in the bar sketch had the audience creasing in laughter before a straight faced Allan who sang the Sinatra ballad In The Wee Small Hours. Grant Stott too had a solo spot which he handled confidently.
The star, of course, is Stewart and his years of experience shows in his comic timing, his impressions and his musical numbers, including the big finish from his favourite acts, like Elvis, Tom Jones and Sammy Davis Jnr, all of which he manages with unbounded energy.
• Until tomorrow