THE SNOW QUEEN Dundee Rep, until Sat 4 Jan 0...
The pitch Faithful Gerda travels to the frozen north to confront the Monarch of Ice and Snow. and break the curse placed on her dearest friend. Is the shard of glass from the Snow Queen's mirror that turns stunted. good-natured Kay into a riialevoient brat really an example of the dark arts at work. or merely a symbol of the onset of puberty with all its grisly acconipaniments’?
The verdict While the 'behind you!'s' and ‘oh no it isn'tl's are as incessantly milked as one of Daisy the cows udders. there's a notable lack of flying confectionery and catchy ditties in this festive show. But this is abundantly compensated for by the blend of chills and charms provided by Stuart Paterson's script. Irene lvchougall gives a seductively wicked performance in the title role. and Ernin Wrnters' Gerda makes a perky herome. while huge pleasure is derived from the array of incompetent stooges from Alexander Webb's mincing Cobweb spider to a pair of effete polar bears. lAllan Padclrffer
Paisley Arts Centre, until Sat 28 Dec 0000
The pitch Accursed Princess Rose rEilidh McCormicki falls under the spell of both evil witch Grinelda ilvlorag Stark; and gorgeous Prince Sebastian rJason Hepenstalli. The latter jOlllS with Mother Bakes/ell rDavid Wallacei. local yokel Billy (Alan Orri and a host of friendly villagers to vanquish darkness. The verdict This shows greatest strength is its sheer out and out fun- ness. Never afraid to venture front the script when occasion demands. the cast seem to be enjoying themselves as much as the audience. The ]()k(}S are as old as the bills. the songs as fresh as daisies. and the colours so bright this could almost have been staged in Technicolor. PACE Youth Theatre members make up the all-- singing. all-dancing chorus of locals. and there's a pantomime horse's head lpossibly from the pantomin‘e Godfatr’ier's collectioni to ensure you'll stay wide awaketGareth Daviesi
Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, until Sat 28 Dec .0000
The pitch Bitter and twisted slave driver earns little respect as he disses Christn‘as. nearly forcing everyone else to do the same. Visits from the ghosts of Christmas past. present and future make him reassess his life. Shocked by his own behaviour. he finally adopts the nierry spirit.
The verdict Not your avarage song and dance Christmas show. but a clear and intelligent adaptation by Neil Bartlett of Dickens' cl; ssic. lt infuses superb performances by Giles l-lavergal and 'l'arn Dean Burn as Thence/er Scrooge and Jacob Marley respectively with subtly comic support from RSAMD students who play '1 range of characters from over worked
72 THE LIST ‘9 [)‘r’, :1 .Ja'
clerks to iakres. The flow is faultless with advanced stage techniques recreating realistic and gOiy ghost scenes. and the unpatronising but accessible humour ensures that the underlying message isn't lost . rlvlererid Williams)
Palace Theatre, Kilmarnock, until Sat 11 Jan 000
The pitch Gertie the Goose lays golden eggs that save lvlother Goose's farm from the wicked Baron Fleshcreep iDouglas Sannachani, help true love ring clearer for Jeannie Goose and Colin. and give everyone something to shake their bums about. Without Gertie. poor Mother Goose would be a derelict and Jeannie would be chasing after her wee fleshcreeping baddie bairns. Gasp.
The verdict Watching an oxersved Mother Goose rlain Goucki frolic in his tutu and ballet slippers and a grey- harred Jimmy Goose striptease down to his polka-dotted knickers is gurte some feat for one evening. There's no lack of energy with this colourful bunch: the panto rules are followed religiously. One-liners galore. liberating hissing. high kicks. a large goose sporadically laying cornflakes . . . t's all here. Be prepared for a demanding night. rlvlegan Kennedyi
JACK AND THE BEANSTALK
Motherwell Theatre, until Sat 11 Jan 00.
The pitch Jack lives with his numpty brother Simon and rnotormouth mother. Dame Trot. Jack falls for Jill. the Duke's daughter, but their Posh'n'Becks romance is short-lived when the fairiily have to sell Daisy the cow to pay the rent. When Jill is kidnapped by the evil giant of Cloudland. our young hero must climb the beanstalk to rescue her . . .
The verdict Writer director Russel Lane. who also appears as the duke. has assembled an energetic ensemble cast. However. they are beaten into submission by the larger-than-life presence of Dean Park as Dame Trot. As a great dame should be. he's all
Michael MacKenzie’s marvelous Merlin at the Lyceum
l garish costumes and rude one-liners. If
you're sitting near the front row. prepare to be on the recervrng end of some pelters from Mr Park. lScott Montgomeryi
HOGMANAY BOYS (GILLEAN CULLAIG) Theatre Workshop, Edinburgh, until Sat 4 Jan 00
The pitch Hogmanay. on the Western Isle of South Uist during World War II. The ancient ritual of the Hogmanay Boys touring the houses and then gathering at the family croft goes ahead. The villain of the piece. croft manager Thomas Moore. is more concerned about his proposal of marriage to the island's wrld spirit. Effy. The verdict Told in English but making freguent asides in Gaelic. Hogmanay Boys is a romantic festive tale that celebrates a rich tradition of storytelling and song. Actress and singer Alyth lvlcCormack carries the show with her enchanting Gaelic voice while the talents of musical director Norman Chalmers lend a striking authenticrty to the score. Stronger in its song than its dramatic content. the show nonetheless succeeds in conveying a significant part of Scotland's cultural history. iCatherine Bromleyi
Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow, until Fri 25 Jan .00
The pitch High spirited scrubber bullied by manly sisters and forced to tear up own ball ticket before mrraculmisly transforming into a meringue. This is all thanks to Fairy Godmother. who '.'./hisks her to the party where she toys with Prince Charming. leaves her slipper behind ras you (lot but finally marries the charmer on the basis of her shoe sum. The verdict Despite having nice
laser ultra—violet effects and some sweet pink moments. this is missing some crucial panto elements. such as a villain to hiss at and slapstick pie-in-~ the—face moments. but there are some duality mucky one-liners from Jannette Tough as the loved-up and cheeky Buttons. She's the one who carries the show during weaker scenes with her sharp enthusiasm.
Austin Powers impersonation and a scary flash of bum. llvlererid Willramsi
Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline, until Sat 28 Dec .000
The pitch Cinders dad returns home with a wicked wife and two bossy drag queens who try their best to stop the good girl from going to the ball ibut fail miserably. natchi. Prince and common girl fall in love and evil is banished from the land. Nearly.
The verdict This Scots version of Cinderella is a small scale affair but has what many bigger pantos lack: a sense of humour that the audience connects with. Jordan Young is captivating as Buttons. Juliet Cad/ow who plays the di//y Fairy Godmother is thrown when a cheeky child heckler claims that she's actually the Wicked Stepfather. Plot twists aplenty when evil nearly defeats good. adds z sprinkling of tension to this quality entertainment. rlvlererid Williamsi
THE HAPPY PRINCE MacRobert Arts Centre, Stirling, until Sun 29 Dec .00.
The pitch High above an unhappy city. the statue of the Happy Prince rPaul Cunninghami stands crying. To his side flies the Swallow rHelen McAlpinei. en route for Egypt. But instead she and the Prince team up to bring Joy and happiness into the city. curing sick children. bringing inspiration to the lonely. and giving love to the (lown-hearterl.
The verdict A superb show for young children and their parents. Annie Wood's adaptation of Oscar Wilde's classic children's story is packed with everything — a story. a message. songs. comedy. and puppets. The two performers act and sing their hearts out. amid a set which is gleefully full of interesting bits and pieces. with lots of props and costumes to keep the kids entertained. If you want something other than the usual mindless panto. this might jtlSi be it. (Gareth Daviesl
King’s Theatre, Glasgow, until Sat 18 Jan 0000.
The pitch You know the story. you know the cast rElaine C. Gerard K. Tom lvch et ah and you know what to expect unless you've spent your life at the bottom of the Clyde. or haii from far off lands. like Nev." Zealand or Midlothian
The verdict If these guys exer stand accused of simply going through the motions. they at least do it with style. The fun in this show is infectious. The script is fresh and genuiner funny. and the performers all give ‘00
Smith proves herself the true darne of Scottish panto. and you can't help but be happy for Kelly as he reyels ll‘ his second childhood. McGovern as the evil Abana/er camps like no boy
Scout ever did. while Alastair 3ruce as Aladdin and Lesley Harcourt as Princess Jasmine prove new panto talent is being bred even as old talents are honed. Don't feel obliged to take the kids. Go it alone, if necessary But go. ((‘iareth [)axiesr