Edinburgh Festival Theatre, until Sat 13 Jan. You may have seen Dickens’s seasonal classic more times than you've had Christmas dinner. but it's unlikely you've seen it looking like this. Putting the singing back into ‘all-singing, all- dancing’, the exuberant Sheffield- based Northern Ballet Theatre are currently first-footing Scotland with a showbizzy spin on A Christmas Carol that takes the unheard of step of using dancers who periodically burst into song. it's a tense moment for the audience as the cast launch into their first tune, but to mass relief they make a perfectly passable job of holding Carl Davis's carol-studded tunes.

in keeping with artistic director Christopher Cable's efforts to bring ballet down from its elitist on-high. the production has a distinct air of the West End show about it. And the resemblance to a big stage musical

‘llow what was I going to get Tiny Tim this year . . . 7' Scrooge (Jeremy Kerridge) undergoes

a late Christmas crisis.

doesn't end with the rousing singalongs. Lez Brotherston's designs are nothing short of epic. with shifting. sliding multi-level sets that provide a neat backdrop to Scrooge’s miserly antics. Blink and you'll miss the moment when counting house turns to bed-chamber, to the dark, cobbled London alleys.

Dance-wise, things are of l\'BT's usual exacting standard: not as lusty as their hot-to-trot Romeo and Juliet last year. but still a solid gold blend of strong. centred muscle-sprung ballet and a freer modem dance style courtesy of ltalian choreographer Massimo Mon'cone. Chorus-lines of cloth cap- wearing cheeky chappies pacing out sharp contemporary twists and deep. deep plies give a real sense of the bustle of Victorian city life.

Scrooge himself (Jeremy Kerridge) doesn’t get the chance to flex much

muscle till the home straight. Early on,

he contents himself with a great line in fingerless glove-clad poking and prodding and miserly hand-rubbing. but it's in the final act that he really comes

into his own. Having been summarily spooked by the ghost of his ex-partner Marley, and a kooky set of ghosts past. present and future. Scrooge can hardly contain his delight when he discovers he's not the dead-man of his vision adopts ajaunty comedy walk and perma-grin and whips the cast up to one last round of skirt-twirling. big number dancing. At the start of the show, Bob Cratchitt (Omar Gordon) looks like the best male dancer on stage; but come the finale Ken'idge is easily his equal.

NBT's A Christmas Cam! is big, swirly feelgood stuff. and though it lacks a truly Dickensian sense of social comment, the old boy would no doubt have applauded its pull-‘em-in. keep-

The timing of this show (ie January) is the real downer, but ifyou can muster

and co after the pine needles have

(Ellie Carr)

ROBIN HOOD AND THE BABES IN THE WOOD King’s Theatre, Glasgow, until 3 Feb.

'em-watching sense of story and drama.

up enough Christmas spirit for Scrooge

dropped. it's a winter-busting night out.

i think we’ve lost the plot, nurse: Logan, Cannon and Ball

bit of narrative cross-fertilisation. Fair enough, depart somewhat from the original legends - panto is nothing if not flexible. But don’t throw out the whole rulebook and abandon all traces of a storyline, puh-lease.

Despite the fact that there are two potentially complementary strands to the King’s panto, the whole directionless affair turns out to be a thin disguise for a Cannon and Ball/Jimmy Logan ioint variety performance. A completely superfluous Crant Stott appears occasionally as Little John, makes his Fully Booked joke and leaves, having totally failed to get into the spirit of things. David Creer as Robin Hood sings with eardrum-perforating projection and looks like llightcrawler John Reid (which must make Vivienne Carlyle’s Maid Marion Mary Kiani).

The rest is spurious set pieces for the three veterans and only a punter frantically inhaling laughing gas could find much to giggle about in their material.

As ever, the presentation at the King’s is impressive and dressing up cast members as woodland creatures always carries reservoirs of comic potential (usually untapped), but

i pogoing rabbits aside, Rabin llood. . . Go ahead and combine two traditional i is slick style over negligible content. stories - panto can accommodate a ( (Fiona Shepherd)

if i -\ x“


I Your ata lance theatre guide riggiitiif'i’ Friday 12 Saturday 13 i Sunday 14 Monday 15 Tuesday 16 Wednesday 17 Resolutions Resolutions Resolutions Resolutions Resolutions Resolutions___ Citizens Main Theatre Pinocchio Pinocchio - - -.:_____ - King’s Babes in the Wood Babes in the Wood Babes in the Wood Babes in the Wood Babes i_rit_h_e_\_Voo_d_fi Pavilion Aladdin Aladdin ! Aladdin Aladdin ,ficfdfldin--.__ Super Circus Super Circus i Super Circus - —______m_ Tron - l - Complete Works Complete Works FNival Theatre A Christmas Carol A Christmas Carol - Sinderella Sinderella Sindcrejlg V V_q ' King’s 0mm Cinderella - erhella Cinderella E Playhouse Phantom . . . Phantom . . . - Phantom . . . Phantom . . . Phantom . . . #— L—‘L Royal Lyceum The Steamie The Steamie The Steamie The Steamie The Steamie - Traverse 1 Tall Tales . . . Tall Tales . . . Tall Tales . . . m 7_ Traverse 2 - - -

BO The List 12-25 Jan 1996