Theatre Christmas shows
PINOCCHIO Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow, until Sat 31 Jan 00
The pitch Misguided puppet with honesty issues runs into trouble when he fails to listen to his conscience. No. not our current PM. but everyone's fav0urite wooden boy. Pinocchio. Will he Outwit all-round Baddie. Stromboli. and cut those strings once and for all? Yawn. of course he does.
The verdict There are no in betweens when it comes to the Krankies and the same is true of this pop panto. If you believe the long-standing Mister and Missus team are a particularly vrrulent strain of the annual Christmas rash of has-been, wannabe and shouldn't-be actors. then Sheridan Nicol's Pinocchio is tantamount to having a lobotomy without anaesthetic. On the other hand. if (like the hordes of gleeful children packing out the Pavilion Theatre) nothing strikes you as more hilariOus than a grown woman dressed as a small boy making fart jokes. then book your seat now. I'll be at home nursing the scars on my forehead. (Corrie Mills)
JACK AND THE BEANSTALK
King’s Theatre, Edinburgh, until Sat 18 Jan 0000
The Pitch Jack's no Rhodes scholar. and his entrepreneurship sucks. Even
Peter Pan at Dundee Rep
78 THE LIST ‘. l Dec 2003» 8 Jan 7004
hrs suspiciously vrrile mum acknowledges his deficiencies when he trades their antliropomorphrc two man cow for a bag of beans provided by the evrl Fleshcreep. servant of the big feller. He can redeem himself by rescuing the daughter of the King. who makes Dubya look like a genius. but only wrth the help of a slinky fairy. Will he fail? As a gentleman, I'm prepared to offer odds.
The Verdict Traditional panto of high quality from the old hands at the King's. Andy Stewart's dame gets better wrth each year. while some expert mugging and double entendre from Andy Gray's King Crumble work a treat. Brrony McRoberts' fairy displays some grand delivery, and the whole effect is of good. unclean fun. The grant. a sort of big mechanical puppet. is impressive. and so is the srght of Andy Gray poorng himself in nappies. My three year old cornpanron was enthralled. and would no doubt ]()lll me in recommenrling this one. (Steve Cramerr
THE PRINCESS AND THE GOBLIN
Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh, until Sat 28 Dec .000
The Pitch Princess Irene is as spoilt as J-l-o. Uncontrollabie to both her Dad the King and “er pompous moralrsing Nurse. she begins to learn manners when she meets her ghostly
great grandma. But she doesn't take heed of advice and finishes up in the clutches of some Goblins With a serious case of vindaloo arse. Never fear. a friendly dragon and poor miner boy Curdie can rescue her. if they can overcome the Goblins plans for world domination and flatulence issues.
The Verdict Stuart Paterson's adaptation of an old chrldrens' book by George MacDonald has a real sweetness and humour to it in Tony Cox-.Inre's sharp production. Motifs of iiiicorrsciousness and imprisonment pervade it. yet there's a gentle beauty to the whole affair. as well as enough earthy comedy to keep both adults and children well entertained. Clare Yuille's performance as the Princess is subtle. while lIileen McCallum delights as the mystical grandmother. There's also something rather more healthy than the usual panto fare in themes of cl; ss. inequality and our need to learn from other folks' experience to this one. Heartwarming stuff.
CINDERELLA Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, until Sat 3 Jan 000
The Pitch l’ooi old Cinders. Her old boy has married the biggest old bitch since Mrs lhatcher. and she's been forced out of her room by two stepsister's who shave twice a day (Jan her old friend and secret admirer Buttons help? Not without further assistance from a posh and proper fairy Godmother. h/it}(tli‘.‘.’llli(?. she's in cornpetrtron for the affections of Prince Charming with her karaoke and beer lovrng munler siblings. Will he slipper one? find out.
The Verdict Stuart lhomas' rendition of this traditional panto fare is cheap and cheerful. occasionally showmg its paucity of resources. There's also a sornetrrnes unevenly paced and ragged script to contend with, but there are also many delights in the sheer gusto of the r)erfor'mances. Kerth l lutcheon and Steven Wren pair up splendidly as the dames. creating a punterrsh pair of nouveau rrche schemes to perfection. while lom l-reeman is svv/eetly endearing as
Pinocchio at The Byre
Buttons. Nicola Burnett Smith is smart of movement and strong of vorce as the fairy Godmother. leaving one wondering why we don't see more of this actress on Scottish stages. A slightly flawed piece. but a good cast make it worth the vrsit. (Steve Cramerl
PETER PAN Dundee Rep, Until Sat 3 Jan 0...
The pitch For anyone who spent the early part of their life on a desert island. Peter Pan's the one about the strangely-tlressed little swashbuckler. who flies in through the nursery window in search of his discarded shadox'x and wrnds up leavrng with sensible Wendy and her brother John. From there its second star on the right and straight on till morning to the Neverland. and encounters with Red Indians. rnerrnards. ticking crocodiles and the ruthless pirate inhabitants of the Jolly Roger.
The verdict JM Barrie's woefully dated fairytale really benefits from Stuart Paterson's reinvigorated treatment. which is snapprly. energetically executed by the ensemble cast. Kevin Lennon is a suitably sprightly Peter up against Richard Clews as the lethally effete Hook. while the Lost Boys are camper than a caravan manufacturers conference. Cruciaily. Dundee's seasonal spectacle passes the under- tens' attention span test with flying colours as there wasn’t a restless barrn in the packed house. rAllan Radcliffei
PINOCCHIO Byre Theatre, St Andrews, until Sat 3 Jan 00
The pitch Lonely old Geppeto (Alan Steeler cuts down a talking tree and out of it makes bletherrng puppet-boy Pinocchio (Alison Connelll, who subsequently suffers trials and tribulations in his guest to become real. The long—nosed one is helped along the way by a nice blue fairy (Joanne Betti. and hindered by child- hating duo. Fox (Richard Conlonl and Cat (\er \'\/el)ster'l.