audience to enjoy. True to the spirit oi panto, the story really acts as a theme tor a series oi entertainments. There are lartoo many at these to list in detail, but the puppet show deserves special mention, as does the contribution at Gerard Kelly, who looks like Glaikit Gussle even when he’s not. Overall this is a sale, dependable and highly entertaining production. Three hours running time might seem a bit extravagant, but it's not really: not it there's enough happening on stage to keep things going. (Philip Kingsley)

would be given a prolesslonal

contract), but in the main, the kids in

the audience find these as dull as the rest oi us. Similarly, when Louise

4 Bradley displays herwonderlulvoicein several songs, nobody is able to

appreciate it because oi the rising cries oi ‘l’m bored' irom the younger members olthe audience.

By the iinal curtain, I reckon that the kids have enjoyed about three scenes in the whole show- an acrobatic routine, a chase in which the baddies

. narrowly tailed to catch the goodies

and, at course, the lirst appearance at the villain - Blackbeard. There simply isn‘t enough opportunity lor the kids to boo and hiss, as the action scenes are swamped by that integral but nonetheless bemusing aspect ol pantomime -the love story (and how anyone could believe that Louise Bradley would tell lorAndy Cameron I don't know.)

So it you want to keep little Billy happy this Christmas give this one a miss. it you want a great night out yoursell though, it is a better bet than snme oi the more cerebral recent productions. Maybe next year they should ban the kids altogether and we'll have a really good time. (Philip Parr)


Full oi anticipation, the buzz oi excitement was almost dealening as the largely undertwelve year old audience waited lorthe curtain to rise. Once it did a hush descended, only to be broken when one animated

lilflEBflllllllllllll:gsxr’» noemson causoe f '

The Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow. Until 10 Feb. ; For the last live years, Andy Cameron 1 has been ontoanice little Yuletide i earner by being the star attraction at The Pavilion’s Christmas panto. On this showing, he’s well worth every penny. But only it you're in the majority section

at these days’ panto audience the adults. Cameron and the rest at the cast

crackiokes aboutSalman Bushdle,the i

poll tax, Rangers and Celtic and Our Glorious Leader. Most at these are very 5 lunny and the principal boy’s legs 3 reach adequately up to her armpits to satisly at least hall olthe adult ; audience, but I was lett wondering what is in it for the kids. ' This is a iundamentai flaw in what should be essentially a night out lor the weans. Sure, there are the occasional concessions to the children (I can’t think why else ‘Tlger' Tim Stevens


neighbourwhisperd to anotherorwhen a well marked cue inspired vocilerous audience response. ‘All little children are stupid brats!’ screeches the wicked stepmother to a sea oi young eager laces who lap up the insults as it they were being told they need never eat school dinners again.

The Lyceum’s Cinderella is a lairy tale spiced with the sense oi irreverence which all children adore, as indeed do most sensible adults. I was assured, by a long sullering teacher, that the bit they will remember most vividly was when Black Douglas (the pantomime dog) cocks a leg over the icing lor the royal cake.

Following the traditional pantomime the production does not take itsell too seriously, has plenty ol ‘Oh no you don’ts,’ and exercises a little poetic licence overthe original tale. However although it worked tor the wee ones, lor

the more wizened at us, it was lacking in panache.

Despite the reireshing lightheartedness ol the panto it is still dillicult to tolerate patchy acting and mediocre scripts. Although the ugly sisters deported themselves with marvellous venom and Cinderella was played with some guts, as was Callum the kitchen boy (I prelerred him to the prince any day), the production lacked comic talent both in the perlormance and the script.

This, combined with a very average set, meant that the production was neither the spectacle nor the entertainment it should have been, lalling a little limpiy short olthe two. Still, the children loved it and that in itsell was pretty magical. (Jo Boe)

Aaarghl Oh . . . it’s amirror.


Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. Until 30 Dec.

lie-christened by a llummoxed telephone caller as The Chicken That Bites Your Neck Oil, Stuart Hepbura‘s Yuletide romp is a contemporarylarce tor a teenage audience. It’s aimed at an age group too old lor children’s entertainment, too young tor adult drama and consequently much neglected by the theatre. It's a shame therelore that the adolescent-count in

~ the lirst night audience was negligible. Hepburn’s bike-shed humour has‘a broad appeal, but without the requisite teenagers, the show is playing away irom its natural home-territory.

The action takes place on Christmas Eve as Guardian-reading, poshhippie, Tom Oalgleish (Alex McSherry) goes oil on a 24-hour animal rights vigil, leaving his children and naked tree ‘not a Christmas tree, but a symbol ol what we have done to our lorests’ - behind him. Hepburn upturns expectations, when the two teenagers (Michael Nardone and Mandy Matthews) don’t have the predictable party, but instead have a series ol run-ins with an escaped psychopath, an inelleclual police oliicer and a ghost-hunting aunt. in a spiralling line at lies and cover-ups, the two at them sink into deeper and deeper water,

until Oad returns to save the day.

The show benelits lrom live excellent acting periormances, notably Nardone . as the wimpy big brother and Matthews ; as the worldly-wise kid sister,

7 carnivore andthrash-metal lan.

Hepburn‘s script crackles with comic colloquiallsms, genuine or otherwise- can ‘tonsil-hockey' really be how

today's young lolk reler to a snog on the sola? but it sullers lrom too many weak jokes. The eilect is an evening at continuous chuckles, but only sporadic laughs, building up to the play's

excellent climax.

Lacking the anarchic riskiness at last year's Traverse show, The Turkey That Fought Back is nonetheless a

; well-constructed, sharply acted and

entertaining piece oi lestive lroth. Take

i a teenager. (Mark Fisher).

The List 8 2| Dcccmbcr 1989 51