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5 Maybe it’s just too cold for the ; sub-tropical flavour of Rudyard j Kipling‘s classic tale.Tlle Jungle


800k. because no amount of fairylights strung around the auditorium could bring any festive atmosphere to this production. Down in the tangled thickets. Mow'gli. the man-cub. gets caught up in a series ofepisodic adventures. He is stolen by the monkeys. saves Mother Wolf from being toppled as leader of the pack by the wicked whispering ofShere Khan and with help from the white cobra finally and violently defeats him.

Directed by Giles llavergal. the show has plenty of movement and action. but the story is fragmented and flat. Breathtakineg stylish. it looks better than it plays. It‘s strictly couture in this kingdom and the costumes. designed by Kenny Miller are worth seeing. Shere Khan and his accomplice are cool mafiosi types in fur trenchcoats and fedoras. Mother Wolf in pearls and pink bows is a hairy Queen Mother and Kaa. the python with her huge irridescent tail and platform shoes is seriously slinky.

But with too few changes in the scenery. only two songs. too much dialogue and very little audience participation. nothing can quell the constant muttering ofbored children. not to mention adults.

In marked contrast. The Little Matchgirl by Fablevision holds an audience ofsix-year-olds spellbound. Hans Christian Anderson‘s desperately sad tale of a little girl whose grandma dies and leaves her destitute is played almost entirely by children and adults recruited from workshops in local schools and adult learning centres. Like a series of unfolding Victorian Christmas cards. each scene is filled with children. soft lighting and Dickensian charm. This piece is rooted firmly in spectacle rather than words, and original music by David Chisholm gives the piece atmosphere and pace. Woven around the simplest of plots. Gary McLaughlin‘s adaptation has a magical quality. A giant jelly and a Christmas pudding dance around a table and the little matchgirl’s spirit is a reflection of herselfdressed in white. Effective. haunting and well worth seeing. (Beatrice Colin)

The Jungle Book. Citizens' Theatre. Glasgow. until Sat23 Jan.

The Little Matchgirl. Fablevision, Pearce Institute, Glasgow. until Sat 19 Dec.


m l

Jacks of z

.. f I

(I I J I e E

Stephen Chester goes ' beanstalking. ;

Andy Cameron flies stageward on a

wave of feedback at the Glasgow . Pavilion. and revelation bursts upon

me like a dodgy downstage thunderflash: Brunton Theatre‘s

' production of Jack and the Beanstalk l ' suffers not from lack ofeash or big l . name stars. It is the lack of

5 amplification which does for them.

Doubtless the Pavilion production of : the same show suffers the same

; cacophony ofcrisp-crunching and :

. the whispering ghost well before the

, Wardlaw and Kevan MacKenzie, these two-one nice, one not-steal Mother

sweet—sucking. but they‘ve clearly decided to answer aural abuse in kind and get fully tooled up with PAs ' before venturing out of the wings.

precaution. but one which engenders a few problems of its own when several of the microphones give up

g This is in many ways a WISC I i

Big Hello is being said to Stenhousemuir Second Guide Troop.

Ah. ifonly it were so easy: what critical bliss could be found by gauging the success of a show upon its decibel level! And ifany presumed to complain. then you could instantly refer them to the graph ofsweet consumption for further justification ofyour decision.

But the failure ofthe Brunton production has to be argued on more nebulous terms: on the inadequacy

of the script. which devotes much time to developing a plot instead of getting to the importantly irrelevant ‘oh yes he did‘ bits. and the essential lack ofconfidenee the cast exhibits. Given that the jokes aren't funny mention should be made ofthe rather esoteric JFK speech parodies and the whole thing adds up to a disappointing bit of Rep.

Over in Glasgow is the money. which means dancers. lights. orchestras and personalities with enough talent to carry the rest of the show should any component part fail. No finer example of this can be found than the manner in which the audience was kept informed of the Rangers/Moscow score throughout the evening I saw it. Andy Cameron and Dean Park provide the sort of chemistry which usually results in Health and Safety Executive investigations and amply make up for the mellifluous indifference at



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i i The Brunton's Jack And The Beanstalk

the core of the central pair‘s i relationship. That the Brunton lacks I such an opportunity for witty word l play becomes sorely apparent as the : minutes crawl by. and there is fatally i no opportunity to relieve a numb bum by jumping up and shouting 1 ‘Get him‘.

Parents should be warned that both . plays include disturbing scenes of ' violence perpetrated against '2 minority groups. In the Glasgow ; version the entire audience is incited i to chant ‘Baldie. Baldie. Baldie‘ at j the evil landowner figure. Peculiarly : enough. the Brunton‘s evil a landowner figure suffers from 3 alopecia too. [begin to suspect a i 3 conspiracy. (Stephen Chester) l Jack and the Beanstalk. Pavilion l i Theatre. Glasgow, until Sat 301ml. l ; Jack and The Beanstalk. Brunton j Theatre, Musselburg/t. until Sat 9 i Dec.



Paisley Arts Centre. Until Thurs 31 Dec. Hey, what a crazy show. Tonight even a Reverend was up on stage dancing the Budgie song with the grace of a chimpanzee. Hansel and Gretel is panto, par excellence; a veritable riot of ad-Iib, colour, music, dance, all permeated with a healthy dose of unpredictability.

Written, directed and starring David Wallace as the butchest dame this side of Johnstone, this version of the classic fairy-story features two funky 90s kids whose mum, Mother Bakeweli, keeps , the village children supplied with sweets. Hansel and Gretel, played by Gregory Powrie and Mhairi Gilbert, become entangled in a plot by a wicked witch to lure all the children into the deep and scary forest and turn them into vast and colourful birds. To do this, she enlists the help of Mick and Pick, a hapless double act who resemble a pairof unemployed undertakers. [ Portrayed with great aplomb by Andrew g

Bakewell's recipe book for sweets and the fun begins.

Wallace’s script is fast and very funny. Littered with asides, sharp

one-liners and digs at everyone from the Royal Family to God, it stampedes along with enough silliness and satire to keep everyone of all ages amused. Even The Godfather and The Blues Brothers are paid a fleeting tribute.

As for the set and costumes, by Donald MacLean, they’re bright, effective and suitable wacky. The music is pretty good too. Loads of songs with interesting arrangements keep the atmosphere up and the grannies clapping.

But it’s the sheer energy of this production which really comes across. With the able assistance of around 30 children from the Paisley Youth Theatre, this show rolls along, filled with magic and enthusiasm. Wallace lets it all happen until audience participation is unavoidable. If you thought you hated panto, this is the one to see. It's hysterical. (Beatrice Colin)


Mitchell Theatre, Glasgow. Until Sat 16 Jan.

It’s not whether you uphold convention, but how you do it, that determines who cuts the panto mustard. It can be stimulating to turn pantomime convention on its head, but there’s always the trenchant persuasion that if

i it ain't broke, don’tfix it. The Mitchell‘s ~ 2 Tom Thumb flies in no one’s face and is 3 an unadulterated joy of an i entertainment foriust such a reason. 1 The flexibility of the circus setting f situated midway between Glasgow and t i the fairytale firmament—allows for i showy set pieces, like The Great Zee's 3 magic routine, and for the appearance E of a panto pachyderm rather than i statutory cow or horse. The songs, f frequently performed by panto 3 debutante Brenda Cochrane, are . singalongablyfamiliar-‘Any Dream Will Do’, ‘Heal The World', ‘Where ls , Love?’, that one from the end of Grease ; - and the gags are commendably contemporary, lynching Maastricht, ; Norman Lamontand Madonna‘s Monroe-abee compulsion to bare her i breasts fortawdrytitillation. ; Dorothy Paul, as Dame Cissie Kipper, . circus owner, is a dramatic focus the , panto establishment would do well to fete alongside your Una MacLeans. Her succession of crass costumes, bull’s-eye timing and conspiratorial patter keep the kids shrieking in identification, and solicit some priceless juvenile reioinders, while her hilarious gossipy monologues transcend panto parameters to leash the attention of the logoy contingent. Between you, me and the garden fence,

the dame’s got style. (Fiona Shepherd) ___i

The Lisiis’5€¢emhéii?992 104721555. 1993 59