certainly at a loss when they decide to be nice to each other at the play‘s climax. McKay dares to expose domestic lile lor all its awkward atlection and unveiled enmity.
This is the one show on which your tamin won‘t dare to disagree. It‘s not perlect—on the first night there were a
lew uncertain exits and entrances- but ,
with a lively audience it is to be highly recommended. The grin never tell my lace and alter all how many other Christmas shows this year come complete with a spot ol ear splitting acid house disco? (Mark Fisher).
Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh Transylvania comes to Musselburgh in a vibrant spectacle ol lederhosen, vampires and the usual terrible jokes. Decidedly mixing their traditions, the Brunton Theatre Company presents a very tall horror story, butwith all the lamiliar panto ingredients.
Frankie MacStein (Robin Cameron) is the Buttons ol the show, slaving alongside Heidi (Maria Miller), the closet-princess, lor taverna-owners Herr and Frau Pumpernickel. Prince Ludwig (William Steel) brings news at the revival ol Dracula (Michael David) and his granny, Granula (Clunie Mackenzie). Then Scottish schoolmarm Miss Nelly (Paul Morrow) and her girls arrive to share in the pandemonium.
Only the whacky Prolessor Crackpot (Steve Owen) can save the world and the audience lrom the gruesome twosome. He invents peppermints which the audience are obliged to suck en masse to repel the vampires. As we hutled and pulled the mint-scent towards the stage, Dracula and Granula cowered.
All the cast Ieapt and capered about the stage with boundless energy and enthusiasm, holding the attention at all the packs ol Brownies in the audience. Miss Nelly, a rotund and tartan~betrocked parody ol Miss Jean Brodie, was a perfect panto dame in a show which skirted the pit ol worn cliches and turned them to its own advantage. The hero ol the hour was, however, a small Brownie who couldn’t stop hersell lrom bellowing ‘Wetch, you‘re a wetch’ at Granula every time she put in an appearance. (Kristina Woolnough)
THE JUNGLE BOOK
Cumbernauld Theatre, Kildrum, Cumbernauld.
The wonderlully colourlul, stylised set and the vibrant music thatare the lirst elements ol this production at which the audience becomes aware augur well lorthe evening. Alas, it is not long belore this expectation is lound to be lalse, though the set does not change and the music (supplied by composer and sometime actor Alan Tall with help lrom percussionist Derek Houghton) continues to be excellent until the rather odd linal song.
Director Robert Robson‘s adaptation of Kipling's (not Disney‘s) Jungle Book torchildren is, lrankly, inept. He simply does not seem to know how to make the story accessible to children, and resorts instead to interpolating static, wordy passages with arbitrary Dh-no-you-don't-isms and cheap jokes
which have practically nothing to do with the plot. And there's another thing. The plot is so dependent upon dialogue (which when I saw the show was drowned by the chattering and moaning ol bored children) that it cannot possibly hold up and make itsell understood. Towards the end it gives up and sidles ollstage, so that such climax as there is at the end is devoid
' olanyintensity orresonance.
There are times when one leels that perhaps an older audience might enjoy the show, but then the staging seems to tall short at its potential at every turn. Most ol the cast seem to be working hard: there are some attempts at stylised, animal-like movement. and a lew moments at inspiration: but it is terribly inconsistent. Why. tor example, does Adrian Hood‘s Baloo move so much like a plump human and so little like a bear, and why is so little made ot Taiwo Payne‘s snake dance?
Thetheatre in general. and children's shows in particular, should be possessed ol magic. excitement and invention, all at which this version ol the Jungle Book by and large lacks. so I‘m alraid I can‘t recommend it at all. (Andrew Burnet)
| CHRISTMAS PRESENT
Tron Theatre, Glasgow
‘A Tron Christmas show without Victor and Barry?’ shrieks Kelvinside. outraged, upon discovering the line-up lor Christmas Present. a seasonal revue which reviews 1988 in a series ol songs and comic sketches. Fear not. say I, lor unto them is born a ‘live video link-up’ direct lrom their Australian tour (although I must say Sydney bears a remarkable likeness to the Botanics) and Victor‘s cousin Forbes Masson appears on selected nights as the unsavoury Rodney McShalt, or his new character Forties Manhattan, a man with the voice and politics at Frank Sinatra and the socks ol Madonna. On other nights, you can also see the multi-laceted Anne Downie (who wrote the Tron‘s Maylest play. The White Bird Passes) as the inelegant Fairy Flush.
Besides all of which, the live main perlormers (who, with help trom Marcella Evaristi and Craig Armstrong, wrote the material) put on a wizard wee show themselves. Myra McFadyen, Katy Murphy (who was cracking put-downs while Miss Toner was still in pigtails) and hunky Stuart Hepburn ol Badinage lame are joined by nervy, Gong-show-to-riches newcomer Ian Morton and insouciant ivory-tinkler Jonathan Harpin, and everyone comes up with the Yuletide goodies.
The revue lormat is ol course riddled with pitlalls ol inconsistency, irrelevance and llatjokes, but wit and imagination are as plentilul here as currants in a good Christmas pudding, and now and then there‘s a real silver coin to crack yourteeth (or ribs) on. Delivery is sharp, singing (especially lrom the temale contingent) very strong and Andi Hoss’ staging admirably slick.
My one reservation is the show‘s rather wearing length. Some sketches are reallytoo long, and a running time at overtwo and a hall hours (including. admittedly, two guest spots and an interval) does suggest some pruning might be judicious. (Andrew Burnet)
THEATRE WORKSHOP“j CHRISTMAS snow ’88
i BONDS OF ENCHANTMENT
By Janet licnton. Directed by Adrian llarris
"A magical tale of enchantedforcsts and ancient .s‘pcl/s... "
Thurs 22 - Sat 31 December £2.00 - Children; £3.30 - Adults.
(iroup Discounts Available. BOOKING NO‘V: (031) 226 5425 34 Hamilton Place. Siockbridgc Edinburgh El l3 SAX.
Early booking advisable for this very popular family theatre! i
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BVJOHNMCKAY \ FAMILY TICKETS FROM £7.00
Tl-lE TRAVERSE THEATRE 031.226 2633
December 14 — January 8 / a
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' t '5’ A Magical Christmas Adventure! I
air At.) '2 - ice or children. V5.3; Group Discounts. WW , .> i V, price concessions. s o x u o u a c» u r l .r'
BOOKING NOW (031) 229 9697
A wicked! witty musical CRAWFURD TRB, JO Tuesday 29 November — Saturday 7 jun-q
Tickets £2.50'£4.50. From: The Ticket Centre, Candleriggs Tel: 041-227 5511 Forﬂmlrcr details contact Wildcat on 041-954 01200 J
'l‘he rm :3 1m- 1088 1: Jan 10m '29