HIGH jinx, magical mayhem and dazzling spectacle, this year’s King’s panto finds the Capital’s very own panto legends - Allan Stewart, Andy Gray and Grant Stott - reigning supreme.
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KING’S THEATRE, Leven Street
“There’s much to love about Edinburgh...” sings Cinderella in the opening number, and indeed there is much to love about this sparkling extravaganza from Qdos Pantomimes.
Baroness Hibernia Hardup of Easter Road, a towering Grant Stott with the growled threat “Ah ken where yous live” to keep the boos at bay, sets the scene with the usual nod to the city’s friendly Hibs/Hearts rivalry and local references.
Never letting his character slip, Stott is peerless in the role of panto baddie and in this adventure he has two side-kicks.
Right from the off, audience participation is to the fore as the ‘gorgeous’ ugly sisters Ruth and Nicola - a dynamic comedy double-act comprising Clare Gray and Maureen Carr - are straight in with the “Oh, yes we are...” call outs.
Flying in, Allan Stewart’s Fairy May, all sparkling wings and silver bloomers, is a funny fairy on fine, fine form, demonstrating why Stewart is rightly Scotland’s premier panto dame.
Singing Whitney’s I Wanna Dance with Somebody, he instigates the party atmosphere that builds throughout.
There’s no ‘balloon’ for Andy Gray’s Buttons to fixate on this year and there may be no utterance of the catchphrase “I’m no very weel”, but it matters not as the word ‘fell’ has never been funnier. Gray is simply a comic genius.
Indeed there are a number of clever word plays - not least a sketch using film titles and another which finds the boys lip-synching to snatches of well know songs.
With more pyros than Guy Fawkes, traditional jokes as old as the hills along with a few new ones, not to mention four pink gorillas and some dancing pumpkins, Cinderella rattles along at a perfect pace.
Before long, Cinders, a likeable Gillian Parkhouse, is heading off to the ball in a breath-taking Act One finale that is worth the ticket price alone... No spoilers.
Before that, however, Fairy May and Buttons have a special task... to stop Cinderella and Prince Charming (James Darch) kissing ahead of their romantic liaison at the Royal Ball.
Cue a hilarious routine, with the pair, sitting on a wall, singing the Bryan Adams’ hit Everything I Do, which had the audience crying tears of laughter. Slapstick at its best.
Opening the second act (step we gaily on we go), an unlikely medley of Marie’s Wedding and YMCA restarts the party as the Royal Ball commences.
With the crystal slipper back on the foot it belongs, the fun isn’t yet over, a reworked version of the old music hall favourite If I Were Not Upon A Stage proves another highlight and ensures everyone leaves with broad smiles and a coach load of magical memories to last them until Beauty and the Beast next year.
Until 21 January 2018