This year’s panto at the King’s Theatre has gathered the usual suspects: Allan Stewart as Cinder’s Mum, Baroness McSquirrel, Andy Gray as Buttons, the butler, and Grant Stott, the bud wigged villainess Gobina McPhlegm, to present the traditional Christmas hootenanny.
Co-authors Allan Stewart and Paul Elliott have turned the story into a modern day fairy tale dispersed with slapstick, audience interaction and witty commentaries. Certain modernised elements, like the helicopter instead of a pumpkin carriage, did not disrupt the smooth pace of the story. On the contrary, they reinforced it and opened space for further comedy.
The mixed audience in the theatre didn’t need a lot of time to feel at home. No doubt they were regular panto viewers by the readiness with which they would jump on their feet and cooperate. The vibrancy of cheering, booing, laughter, explosions and singing was captivating and I and my companion happily surrendered to the jolly mood of the people around us.
The performance excelled with good tunes, kinky but cheerful costumes, immaculate acting, sumptuous props and great stage design. The light work and carefully selected stage effects were also spot on. At the heart of the show was of course not the story, but the driving energy of the performances of the leading Scottish comedians along with the rest of the cast. They were having just as much fun as the audience were, whilst maintaining their cool, masterful acting and versatility.
By the end, the heartwarming tone of the fairy tale had taught children to believe in magic. One of the youngest spectators in the audience, little Lara, was invited on stage to help save the “twin” sister (a foil character of the villainess) from the muddy waters of the pond. Later on, she was called again and turned into a little fairy whose magic wand produced a spectacular snow fall over those in the audience.
Those who had not missed a single panto for the past few years admired the high standard of the performance. Their faces frowned only at the recycled gags of the gang and cheered at the fresh and juicy novelties in the play. In my opinion, whether you are a panto veteran or novice, you will be irresistibly drawn into the hilarious, bubbly and gripping loops of the play.
Cinderella is on until the 22nd of January at the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh.