Allan Stewart’s Big Big Variety Show,
***** 5 Stars
“ A Joyous Affirmation of Variety”
The Edinburgh King’s theatre has been the home of Scottish variety for decades from the glory days of the 5 past 8 shows via the lasting legacy of its annual pantomime spectacular. The enduring mix of music, magic, laughter and nostalgia brings the audiences in their droves to the hallowed auditorium on leven street.
That said it can only happen if a true master of the graft is in the driving seat, and there is no greater master of the art form than Allan Stewart, whose now annual Big Big Variety show continues to shine the spot light on variety in a simply big big way.
Stewart casts off the frocks and chains of pantomime and unleashes his finely honed talent for entertaining, joined by his panto partner in crime Grant Stott, the show opens to a blistering start of comedy skits, with the occasional aside thrown in, and when the first guest act, namely Soul Nation take to the stage with an exciting mix of soul and pop classics its obvious its going to be a winning night of theatre.
Kev Orkian is given a full slot to pull off his rib tickling piano fused comedy that leaves the audiences in stiches as the curtain falls for the interval. Opening Act 2 is the now comedy masterclass of the MacRoberts Brothers all the way from Effin this time joined by Boabby’s from the continent the roars of laughter confirmed just how gifted a comedy writer Stewart has become, his ability to write a line and know just how it will land comes from years of working the variety circuit in both the theatres and now long gone working men clubs.
Magic is next on the cards with Britain’s got talent break out star Mandy Muden delivering gags amongst the magic tricks and proving even a broken microphone wont stop her, the stage is then given to Grant Stott for more tales from behind the Mic before Allan Stewart tops the bill with a slew of impressions, songs aided by the full Andy Pickering Orchestra and comedy draw from observations of life, a truly rich vein to tap into.
As the curtain falls it’s a magical moment of pathos as Stewart reflects that we must all get older, but variety when done so well will always remain as young and vibrant as ever. Allan Stewart’s Big Big Variety show does exactly what it says on the flyers but does its so wonderfully well. It a joyous affirmation of how good light entertainment live on stage can be and for that Allan Stewart and his collections of acts should stand proud under the bright lights of the Kings!
Allan Stewart’s Big Big Variety Show, King’s Theatre Edinburgh, Runs Until Saturday 2nd March , for tickets go to: https://www.capitaltheatres.com/whats-on/allanstewart