fashioned sing-songs.

In general the whole cast acquit themselves well; Ms McLean is a delight and I even found myself laughing at Johnnie Beattie, a comic I previously didn‘t have much time for. A special mention must go to Jackie Farrell, who displayed a slapstick talent previously unseen in Garnock Way and Taggart. For parents who

thought of eating cold porridge and

think they may not enjoy a pantomime -

this is the one. Until Feb. (Graham Caldwell)

Preterm Egyfioyelgfiiym

Bonnie Langlord as ‘The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up’ gave a dramatic sky-diving performance in the Theatre Royal’s production of Peter Pan. Barrie's ageless favourite, despite the new but unremarkable musical score, followed a traditional pattern. The Darling Nursery with its glittering backdrop offered an impressive opening where Judith Bruce played a

; traditionally elegant and gentle Mrs Darling. The adorineg expressive

Nana tied to her ‘dog-house' is unable to prevent her ‘puppies’ from being hijacked by Peterto Never Never Land where they meet a delightful melee of lost boys, endearing Tiger Lily and her tribe of acrobatic Indians, not forgetting the ‘dirtiest rat in the pack’ followed faithfully by the dreaded ship. The stage sets, delighting children and adults alike, provide a stunning platform which the performers use with skill and confidence. indeed, Joss Ackland outshines them all (except of


traditional festive offerings. No princesses, magicians, witches or genies only two hilarious convicts, Gilbert and Crosby, who, sick at the

lumpy custard for Christmas Dinner in prison, escape, with the help of the audience.

The pace is fast and furious as they encounter along the way the Green Skelligog, a huge hairy spider and a

hungry werewolf. The sight of these ; brought screams and shouts from the audience olschoolchildren.

The baddie of the piece (written by

? Willis Hall) is defective constable Drummit, who threatens the kids with

homework and schooldinners if they don‘t help them recapture the

, desperate criminals. This results in the ? audience taking part in a hilarious identity parade on stage, complete

with false beards, glasses and stick on noses! There were plenty of chase

sequences which had the kids (and

adults) in a frenzy of excitement, with

the cast frantically dodging in and out of the seats to the accompaniment of

Keystone Kops music on the piano. The ; pace never flags and the production

directed by Robin Wilson, is packed with originality. Highly recommended 5 for parents who usually dread the

i i

: boredom of the panto season. Until 21

Dec. (Eleanor Harris)


: uerlimmgnmcsm Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh

course dearTink) with a spectacularly kllted Sir Hector and his Everidge

sinister portrayal of Captain Hook. Bonnie Langlord’s voice with its vast range rings masterfully round the theatre. However, the gravelly

Fat, funny, henpecked, red-headed and l

bespectacled, social-climbing wife, Lady Bally (Elaine C. Smith) are by far

5 the best things about this likeable but

undertones make one wonder how long young Prince Arthur and his tutor

will it be fill her voice breaks—will Peterthen be lost for ever? Until 14 Dec. (Susie Paterson)

A Right Christmas Caper Glasgow Arts Centrefifiasgow

1“ I381. 3 Dan“! "Iai breaks "‘8 "10"” 0' Excalibur from the stone and restore

x; “'~::"‘s'\‘{:§\.:-

unspectacular version of the tale of

wizard, Merlin (played by Sandy Neilson in ‘May the Force be with you’ style). Will Arthur be rescued in time from the evil grasp of the wicked witch Morgana le Pay to pull the magic sword

If and unveiled. the Princess succumbs to the Puddok

Morgana le Pay

ago ‘, . _ t. ~ s h '

the balance of good and evil in the


Jonathan Watson as Arthur and Gerda Stevenson as his companion Gwen, succeed despite ratherthin material in getting the youthful audience involved in the story. Such loyalty should have been rewarded with either a more exciting, more complex plot or more pantomime business and audience participation. The whole production suffers from not going over the top Andrea Miller’s Morgana is not quite wicked enough and sadly, despite booming voice, Merlin never actually does anything tojustify his ‘Magnificent' tag. What started off as a challenging new way of presenting the Christmas Show (it is a production that originated at the Glasgow Citizens’ a few years ago) seems in fact to offer little to rival the longevity of the panto

tradition - the texture just isn’t rich

enough. But like jelly instead of Christmas pud, Ian Wooldridge's production (sponsored by solicitors Morton Fraser and Milligan) won't upsetanyone. Until 11 Jan. (Nigel Billen)

Robin Hood and The Towers of Silence

Theatre “(prism Edinburgh

No Sherwood Forest, no white Maid Marion, but what this pantomime lacks in the traditional style it more than makes up for in originality, wit and colour.

Robin Hood is not so much your Emerald Green Do-Gooder, more your Eloquent, but determined Sassenach out of his depth in a foreign land who with (more than a little) help from ‘Wee' John attempts to free Scotland from the clutches of Calla Mor-the exceedingly evil Sorceress. In doing so a border must be crossed, the banshee tongue understood, and several feuds fought.

Baina Borthwick, as Robin Hood and Sean Hay as Little John, make an entertaining team both visibly and orally. Energetically both juggle and jousf, leaving Calla Morto order and command her motley crew of soldiers.

But before King William can be reinstated the heroes have to conquer Castle Gloome and with lights and sound effects to match the needs of such a task, the achievement is enthralling, if (in true panto style) inevitable. ,

The Theatre Workshop may be small, : and this pantomime quite short, but in sixty minutes of highly comprehensive, 2 witty entertainment one recalls not so much the Boo Hlss Hiss monotone necessary in most but the vivacious

language drifting in and out of Scots, and not just that of 1195. Until 20 Dec. (Fiona Murray)


MsTheatre, Edinburgh

Anything lacking in this production is certainly not due to the budget for the wardrobe. Stunnineg opulent and not sparing the sequins, the costumes are operatic in their extravagance -this is Madame Butterfly at her most expansive. It offers us Stanley Baxter appearing in a Chinese takeaway farthingale, oozing noodles, or in a backless, strapless, seamless,

off-the-shoulder number. During a very

well done highway code striptease the costume really goes over the top, bottom, sides, back and front. Dressed amongst other things, as a candelabra, he lights up a piece which might otherwise flicker and go out.

A willing suspension of disbelief is the symbolic core of pantomimes, the response for which it asks. Trying to please some of the people all of the time is not the same thing and failing to identify its genre or recognise its identify, it fragments its aim in the mistaken belief that adults and children cannot delight in the same thing. It is not unenjoyable—Stanley Baxter is (fortunately) too good for that and he is well supported by John Damage as Wishee Washee (recently

backtrom Safairy), but it never accepts

the challenge of pantomime, something a glitter-happy design cannot disguise or retrieve. This is not only a convention misunderstood, it is

- an opportunity lost. Until 22 Feb. (Sally


The Puddok an’ the Prjgcess

Traverse, Edinburgh

Not a Christmas Panto by any stretch of the imagination, but very definiter

based on fairy tale—The Puddok an’ the _

Princess was put together by David Purves from two old Scots folk tales.

Thetale is notaltogetherunfamiliar— '

substitute the English word fora green amphibian with webbed feet and a penchant forflies and the nature of the

Puddok and the sort of bargain he might I

be driving will not elude you for long. The story of the Puddok who guards

the well and demands the princess’s

hand in marriage in return for some

magic water moves along under its own .‘

momentum to some degree. What is impressive, however, is the way Theatre Alba bring it alive with the wonderful characters in Purves’s script and their realisation in Charles Nowosielski’s production: the proud princess, the dodgy physician, but above all, the outrageous and lewd ‘ailing' Queen Mother, graphically

' down-to-earth in Carol Ann Crawford's

performance, and the chauvinistic and overbearing, though thoroughly lovable Puddok (an impressively agile Garry Stewart).

The play lingers rather too much in the second half, but the production’s

mixture of fantasy and earthiness, its

humour and vitality and use of the old

i Scots (though laid on a little bit thick at

times) make it a delightful evening. Until 22 Dec. (Sarah Hemming)

u The LiStTB—Dcc— 9 Jan 19