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Mary Woodward Review

Mascagni Iris: Scottish Opera in Concert City Halls, Glasgow, Review:

Mascagni Iris: Scottish Opera in Concert

***** (5 stars)

Earlier this year Scottish Opera’s conductor Stuart Stratford bounced on to the stage and enthusiastically introduced us to Mascagni’s Silvano: now, equally enthusiastically, he invited us to become acquainted with another rarely-performed work by the same composer. At Iris’ first performance in 1898 the opening choral and orchestral Hymn to the Sun was an immediate hit – and yesterday’s performance supported Stuart’s belief that it’s probably the best operatic sunrise there is, powerfully depicting the glory and life-affirming warmth of the sun.

Unlike previous concert performances by Scottish Opera Iris was not semi-staged, though the singers were in costume. Stuart explained that he and the cast had all been struck down with flu at various times in the rehearsal period – and, indeed, the original Iris had had to withdraw after that morning’s dress rehearsal, her place being taken at very short notice by a superb young Australian soprano, Kiandra Howarth, of whom we are surely going to hear much more in future.

The plot is fairly simple – Iris, a beautiful young girl, lives with and cares for her blind father. She is still of an age to play with dolls, and loves the birds and flowers in the garden that surrounds her little cottage. Her beauty attracts the attention of a young nobleman, Osaka. With the assistance of Kyoto, keeper of the local geisha house, and Dhia, one of his geishas, Iris is kidnapped and taken to the geisha house.

Osaka endeavours to seduce Iris, who simply doesn’t understand what he’s getting at. Osaka is quickly bored, and Kyoto decides to display his newest acquisition to the locals, who are astonished at her beauty. Iris’ blind father arrives and, believing his daughter to have deliberately abandoned him and chosen to enter the geisha house, curses her and spits at her. Iris, now completely bewildered and terrified, throws herself from the balcony into the open sewer below the geisha house.

Three days later, Iris’ body is discovered in the sewer by rag-pickers and scavengers, who scatter when they realise she is still alive. Delirious, she imagines she is visited by Osaka, Kyoto and her father, all of whom show no remorse as they bid her farewell. She feels the rays of the rising sun warming her, and sings the ecstatic hymn to the sun as she dies among a field of flowers which spring up around her.

It’s a shocking piece which is all too relevant today. I feel it could well be re-named Così fan tutti All men are thus – as it highlights the heartless treatment of women as sex toys, objects to be bought and sold, used, and abandoned without a thought. There is no point at which the men demonstrate any remorse for their behaviour, or the slightest understanding of their complicity in her death – Osaka says he’s going to look elsewhere now, Kyoto sees her as the victim of her own beauty, and her father berates her because now there’s no-one to see to his comfort. In the equivalent of a musical shrug all three sing Così la vita; addìo / vo [such is life; goodbye / I’m off ]…

The music is superb, with many original and unusual instrumental combinations and sonorities. I’m glad Stuart Stratford pointed out many things to listen out for – the most unusual being the leader of the orchestra’s positioning of a coffee cup on the body of his violin at the beginning of act three, producing a weird buzzing sound to lead us into the darkness of the sewer in which Iris’ broken body lies.

The singing was magnificent, with the greatest honours going to Kiandra Howarth whose radiant innocence and utter belief in the power of the sun god’s son Jor was in stark contrast to the duplicitous and self-absorbed Osaka of Ric Furman and Roland Wood’s corrupt and heartless Kyoto. Charlie Drummond’s Geisha was an aural delight, and I loved her fabulously embroidered rose-coloured kimono! James Creswell’s sonorous and powerful bass gave full weight to Iris’ blind father, while Aled Hall made the most of his few moments in the spotlight as he celebrated the moon’s light in act three. Arthur Bruce and Fraser Simpson sang their wee parts from among the chorus, who were major players in the drama, while above, around, and throughout the whole performance the brilliant Scottish Opera Orchestra created a unique and unforgettable sound world in which a heartbreaking but all too contemporary tragedy was played out.

Yet again Scottish Opera have brought a neglected masterpiece to vibrant life – we can but hope that there will be a repeat performance before too long.

Mascagni Iris: Scottish Opera in Concert, City Halls, Glasgow, RUN ENDED

Brett Herriot Review

Cinderella, The Brunton, Musselburgh, Review:

Cinderella, The Brunton, 

**** 4 Stars

“Charming and Fun Production”

2019 sees Cinderella the godmother of all pantomimes return to the Musselburgh venue. The production is sold as “Traditional Pantomime for all ages” which makes the decision to move Cinderella into a circus theme an interesting one.

Writer and director John Binnie return’s after his excellent debut in last year’s Jack and the Beanstalk and delivers a production which has charm in abundance and works well within the physical constraints of the theatre. It also puts the local community and locations at its very heart.

The difficulty is, Cinderella is the godmother of pantos because its every little girl’s dream, a tale of once upon a time in a magical village when a gorgeous prince, a gold ticket, a fairy godmother makes defeating the wicked stepmother and ugly sisters a possibility! That childlike wonder and charm doesn’t transposition well to a circus theme. However, it remains nevertheless utterly charming and fun to watch.

Cinderella played with innocence and a light-hearted touch by Eilidh Weir spends her days sweeping the big top floors of the circus owned by her evil stepmother and ringmaster (the wonderfully bad Wendy Seager), who favours the ugly sister duo of Mince and Tatties (played brilliantly by Graham Crammond and Andrew Dyer respectively) as they plan to sell the circus and reap the money. Its circus clown Buttons (the always fun and charming Ross Donnachie) who shows cinders any love, but as he stumbles upon Prince Charlie ( the utterly gorgeous Lewis Lauder) and in what is normally a Prince and Dandini moment they swap places, allowing the rest of the story to unfold in traditional ciders style albeit in its new location. It even allows Estrid Barton’s Fairy Godmother to sprinkle a little magic especially in the inventive transformation scene.

This Cinderella is real family affair and its boosted by Musical Director Tommie Travers excellent musical choices, with pop songs sitting comfortably alongside the ballads. Its Travers delicate underscoring that adds something special and that would be further enhanced with a full live band, however Travers delivers well at the keyboard in the pit.

Robin Mitchell’s Set and Costume Design is spot on the money bringing to life the circus theme in a riot of colours and the costumes, of which there are many, bringing real character. This is further boosted by Ian Curtis and Craig Dixons first rate lighting design which adds even more colour and depth to the production.

Overall this is a charming and fun production but the change of location doesn’t work fully for it, as there are no circus speciality acts, jugglers or acrobats and it relies on character driven story to carry the show through, which would have been better delivered in a traditional telling of the story.

For all that, you can’t help but be won over by this production which will pack them in at the big top of the Brunton theatre.

The Brunton Theatre Presents “Jack and the Beanstalk”, Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, Run’s until Saturday 4th January 2020 Tickets from £14 go to www.thebrunton.co.uk/events

Brett Herriot Review

Beauty and the Beast, Theatre Royal, Newcastle, Review

Beauty and the Beast, 

**** 4 Stars

A Charming Tale as old as Time!”

The Theatre Royal’s dream team of Danny Adams, Clive Webb and Chris Hayward mark their 13th year of creating magic in Newcastle’s biggest pantomime by returning to the traditional pantomime of Beauty and the Beast following last year’s circus inspired stunt bonanza that was Goldilocks.

Based on the classic tale as revived by Disney, the Story of the Beast (Chris Cowley) condemned to be forever the beast unless he can fine love and make a girl see the man with in the beast is a romantic love story at its heart that’s a charming tale as old as time and excellent for family pantomime fun.

Add to the Mix Clive and Danny’s regular routine of zany slapstick routines and Chris Hayward stunning Dame Rita Potty and the fusion of Classic pantomime with Newcastle’s regular trio works its charms. Steve Arnott the regular baddie gets to play a goodie this year as Dashing Dick the Candlestick playing opposite Reece Sibbald’s Mr Tock the talking clock. Baddies duties fall to Wayne Smith and his take on Flash Harry. Performances are universally excellent as always with the cast clearly enjoying themselves and that flows across the footlights.

Producer and Director Michael Harrison has delivered a true return to traditional family pantomime with scale that can only be delivered by QDOS, a stunning set from Ian Westbrook sparkles under the rich lighting of Ben Cracknell’s design.

The panto is written by Michael Harrison and Alan McHugh and for the most part works wonderfully well however the routine of using countries names and flags for a rhyming comedy number doesn’t work, its over long and falls flat and just isn’t landing despite the game attempt by Danny Adams it’s a comedy routine that could easily be cut from the show and making the overall product tighter.

That being said the “Trunk of Truth” routine is comedy gold and done with such force that the entire house was drowning in laughter. The same applied to the song sheet “Gilly Gilly” which has a stunning and surprising conclusion that makes the audience gasp.

All the regular ingredients come together to make the magic that is the Newcastle Theatre Royal pantomime the very best in the North East. It remains the testing ground for Qdos with many ideas and effects turning up in Harrison’s London Pallidum production.

The highlight of this years show has to be Chris Hayward’s Dame Rita Potty who arrives on stage in a succession of knock out costumes which he designs himself it brings all the glitz and the glamour that is both traditional and modern pantomime in all its glory.

Beauty and the Beast at the Newcastle Theatre Royal delivers in spades and will continue to push the boundaries of the possibilities and with next year’s panto already announced, a return of Humpty Dumpty a title not see for many a long year things continue to look good for biggest and best panto in all the land.

Qdos presents Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Theatre Royal Newcastle, Runs until Sunday 19th January 2020 for tickets go to: www.theatreroyal.co.uk/whats-on/panto-beauty-and-the-beast

Preview

Christmas UK top 5 Preview: 2019

Christmas UK top 5 Preview:

We have previewed the very best of Pantomime and Christmas Shows from around Scotland but following the popularity of last year’s top 5 outside of Scotland, we just had to bring it back for 2019! There are over 500 professional pantomimes and Christmas shows around the UK and many hundreds more in church halls and community theatres the length and breath of the country. We have selected just 5 Pantomimes from out with Scotland that we believe are unique, special and worthy of your ticket money! You may or may not agree but we hope you visit your nearest theatre this festive season for a real treat.

Qdos presents Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The London Palladium.

London Palladium

The London Palladium holds a very special place in the hearts of Londoners and theatre goers throughout the UK and thanks to QDOS they brought pantomime back to this historic venue in 2016 and have become Olivier award winners along they way. The Gang are back and will transform the Palladium into a circus for a panto spectacular like no other. Paul O’Grady returns along side Julian Clary, Paul Zerdin, Nigel Havers and Gary Wilmot plus a new galaxy of stars.

Fusing together circus, stunts, spectacular effects, a brand new set, costumes worthy of the west end and the biggest orchestra in panto the palladium is out to top its itself once more, you would be fool to miss this and it only plays for 5 short weeks and many performances are already sold out! Time to book now before it’s all too late.

Qdos presents Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The London Palladium. Sat 7th Dec – Sun 12th Jan 2020 for tickets go to: https://www.palladiumpantomime.com/

Qdos Presents Beauty and the Beast, Theatre Royal, Newcastle.

Newcastle

The biggest panto in the North must be the annual extravaganza at the Theatre Royal directed by Michael Harrison ( who also helms the London Palladium) and always acts as a test bed for ideas and effects that will pop around the country in subsequent years. 2019 For the first time ever the spellbinding pantomime Beauty and the Beast comes to the Newcastle Theatre Royal in a spectacular and enchanting production for all the family, starring legendary Theatre Royal panto stars Danny Adams, Clive Webb and Chris Hayward. Join them on a magical adventure to help the beautiful Belle on her quest to unleash the Beauty within the Beast. With everything you’ve come to expect from the Theatre Royal’s pantomime; spectacular special effects, hilarious comedy and a few surprises along the way, Beauty and the Beast is set to be the North East’s biggest panto ever!

Qdos Presents Beauty and the Beast, Theatre Royal, Newcastle. Tue 26th Nov – Sun 19th Jan 2020 for tickets go to https://www.theatreroyal.co.uk/whats-on/panto-beauty-and-the-beast

The York Theatre Royal Presents, The Sleeping Beauty, Theatre Royal York.

york

For the first in 40 years, Berwick Kaler will not be on stage at the Theatre Royal York but he is behind the pen of this brand new production. Introducing Martin Barrass as the Queen, alongside Suzy Cooper as Beauty, A.J Powell and the dastardly David Leonard as the wicked Evil Diva. Spinning together hilarious gags, stunning costumes, thrilling dances and foot-tapping songs – you’ll cheer the heroine, boo the villain, laugh-out loud and sing-along! It may just be the start of a new era at the Theatre Royal York so why not catch it.

The York Theatre Royal Presents, The Sleeping Beauty, Theatre Royal York. Sat 7th Dec – Sat 25th Jan 2020 for tickets go to: https://www.yorktheatreroyal.co.uk/show/sleeping-beauty/

City Variety Theatres Present Red Riding Hood the Rock and Roll Pantomime, City Varieties Music Hall Leeds.

leeds

To Yorkshire next and the run away success that is the Rock and Roll Pantomime at the City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds. From the enchanted pen of Peter Rowe, CVT present RED RIDING HOOD!

You’ll be wowed by this breath-taking production which mixes traditional elements of audience participation and corny gags with a jukebox full of classic rock anthems and chart-toppers, all performed live on stage by our ultra-talented cast of actor-musicians. Be sure to keep your wits about you though, or you may just get rocked by the legendary Boulder Battle !

City Variety Theatres Present Red Riding Hood the Rock and Roll Pantomime, City Varieties Music Hall Leeds Fri 29th Nov – Sun 12th Jan 2020 for tickets go to: https://www.cityvarieties.co.uk/Online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loadArticle=Load&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::article_id=7F9A3ECA-C417-43BE-BAFD-458AF6459B75

Qdos Presents Beauty and the Beast, Grand Opera House, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

belfast

May McFettridge celebrates her 30th season as the Queen of Belfast Pantomime and is joined by star of stage and screen Ben Richards (Footballers Wives, Holby City, Hollyoaks, The Bodyguard in London’s West-End) as well as Comedy magician and Britain’s Got Talent favourite Mandy Muden. Don’t miss this magical adventure packed full of comedy, colour and amazing song and dance routines.

Dreaming of a happier life, the beautiful Belle finds herself transported to a cursed castle and held captive by a hideous beast. To her surprise, the castle is full of magical characters placed under a spell by an evil enchantress. Can Belle see beyond the monster and fall in love with her captor before the last petal falls from the enchanted rose? Or will the Beast’s selfishness cost him the world he once knew and the hand of the girl who has melted his heart?

With a huge cast of 30 and a spectacular set, Beauty and the Beast is the biggest show in Northern Ireland. It’s also a sumptuous gift of a show tied up in glittering ribbons, so treat yourself and your family to a Christmas present you can look forward to all year!

Qdos Presents Jack and the Beanstalk, Grand Opera House, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Sat 30th Nov – Sun 12th Jan 2020. For tickets go to: https://www.goh.co.uk/whats-on/beauty-and-the-beast/

So there it is our 5 picks of the panto’s out with Scotland and for those in wales there is many a panto too including Sleeping Beauty at the Venue Cymru Llandudno featuring legendry Dame Nigel Ellacott you can find more info by going to: https://venuecymru.co.uk/sleeping-beauty-0

Whatever panto you see this year have a ball its truly the most unique form of entertainment and one we should continue to embrace.

Brett Herriot Review

How The Grinch Stole Christmas, The Musical, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Review

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

*** 3 Stars

“charming family fun”

Its not quite time to open the first window on the advent calender but the festival theatre is getting in the christmas spirit early with this charming family fun production of Dr Seuss’s classic tale of how the Grinch stole Christmas the musical!

The Grinch has been around since 1956, firstly as Dr Seuss’s charming illustrated poem, then a film with Boris Karloff before a more modern take by Jim Carrey and the popular animated film with the voice of Benedict cumberbatch.

This musical adaptation came to life over 21 years ago in 1998 and its toured in the Fall of each year across the united states and now it recieves its British premier in a tour of the country.

Telling the story of the Grinch who hates christmas and wants to make the people of whoville suffer by stealing all there christmas presents and feast and dump them into the abyss of the valley of crumpit mountain. Its when the citizens celebrate christmas regardless that the Grinch’s heart grows and he find the true meaning of christmas. Its a child friendly take on a christmas carol and while charming there could have been so much more in this production.

Timothy Mason’s Book and Lyrics and Mel Marvin’s Music borrows heavily from the original text of the book and works well with some fluffy light tunes through out but it does lack a stand out number to send the audience home humming. That said the Classic “You’re a mean one, Mr Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas” from the 1966 animation do feature and offer the best of the score.

Performance wise its a mixed bag, the production is advertised as starring Gregor Fisher but its a bit of a misleading casting, Gregor appears as himself at the top of the show for a 5 minute scene where he reads the Grinch story to a group of children invited on stage from the audience, he is then never seen again, not even in the curtain call. Its clearly a case of getting a name on the poster to get the audience in.

Edward Baker-Duly plays the The Grinch perfectly and is clearly inspired by Jim Carrey’s take on the role, his ability to use his face like elastic to convery the character is excellent. Steve Fortune plays “Old Max” with an aged charm and maturity thats highly fitting and truthful. X Factor Star Matt Terry plays “Young Max” and while there is much youthful fun coming from the role, there are moments where it feels a little dialed in and tired which is a shame. Performance wise the star of the show must go to young Isla Gie in the role of Cindy Lou Who for a girl so young to have such a big voice, stage presence and performance ability is stunning and she is joy to watch on stage.

John Lee Beatty’s set is very in keeping with the Dr Seuss’s orginal artwork and again brings a schmaltzy warmth with it and its boosted by Ben Cracknell’s lighting design even if a couple of cues were late. Also we saw far to much of the stage technicians when clearly we arent meant too somthing perhaps Director Matt August can smooth out as the tour continues.

How the Grinch stole christmas is a warm hearted pre christmas treat that could have been so much more than it was but as the snow falls gently across the auditorium you cant help but be moved by its charms. So pop along to festival theatre with the kids in tow before the Grinch disappears for another year.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas The Musical, Festival Theatre Edinburgh, Runs until Saturday 30th November, For Tickets go to: https://www.capitaltheatres.com/whats-on/how-the-grinch-stole-christmas-the-musical

 

Preview

Christmas 2019 Preview:

Christmas 2019 Preview:

Hard to believe the curtain call for 2019 is in sight, with Christmas light switch on’s happening across the country, Christmas shopping stepping in high gear and party season knocking on the door. For audiences of the arts attention turns to the many theatrical treats that are on offer in our theatres and venues. While the traditional Pantomime is the biggest choice there are some musical jewels too. So lets look around the country at the biggest and best on offer.

Qdos presents Goldilocks and Three Bears, King’s Theatre Edinburgh.

Goldilocks

12 years after its last appearance on the King’s stage, Goldilocks and the Three Bears returns as the pantomime of choice for what ranks as Scotland’s number 1 pantomime. Allan Stewart returns as Dame, Grant Stott is still the baddie and in what will be a truly emotional Moment, the legendary pantomime performer Andy Gray for fills his promise that after missing last years beauty and the beast as he battled cancer he returns as the Ringmaster. Another big wow factor is Jordan Young the star of Aberdeen’s His Majesty’s Pantomimes makes his Kings theatre debut as joey the clown. This is a show that will mix circus, panto, costumes, music, comedy, stunts and magic for a special production!

Qdos present Goldilocks and The Three Bears, Sat 30th Nov – Sun 19th Jan 2020 for tickets go to: https://www.capitaltheatres.com/whats-on/goldilocks

The Lyceum Theatre presents An Edinburgh Christmas Carol The Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh.

edinburgh christmas carol

The Lyceum is beloved and respected for its Christmas tales, a unique hybrid of theatre making fusing together both play, children focused theatre and a heavy dose of Christmas magic. Edinburgh folklore tells us that when Charles Dickens was visiting the city on a reading tour, a stroll through a kirkyard brought him to the tombstone of one Ebenezer Scroggie, inspiration struck, and A Christmas Carol was born. Writer and director Tony Cownie (The Venetian Twins, The Belle’s Stratagem) brings this famous festive story back to the city of its birth with a guest appearance from Edinburgh’s best Loved Victorian – Greyfriars Bobby!

The Lyceum Theatre presents An Edinburgh Christmas Carol, Thur 28th Nov – Sat 4th Jan 2020 for tickets go to https://lyceum.org.uk/whats-on/production/an-edinburgh-christmas-carol

Disney’s The Lion King, Edinburgh Playhouse.

the Lion King

The Edinburgh playhouse, Scotland’s home of the west end mega shows and this Year welcomes the smash hit Disney spectacular for a second run at the greenside venue and this time its staying for a 4-month mega run. Set against the majesty of the Serengeti Plains and to the evocative rhythms of Africa, Disney’s multi award-winning musical is a unique theatrical experience that you will remember forever. The lion king is true magical treat for all the family and show both Disney and the art of theatre making at its very best. This will be the shows only performances in Scotland on the current tour so it well worth heading to Edinburgh for an unforgettable night out.

Disney’s The Lion King, The Edinburgh Playhouse, Thu 5th Dec – Sun 29th March 2020 for tickets go to: https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/disneys-the-lion-king/edinburgh-playhouse/

Scottish Ballet Presents the Snow Queen, Festival Theatre Edinburgh.

the snow queen

Christmas tradition at the Festival Theatre is all about Scottish Ballet, and there 50th anniversary year comes to a spectacular close with the world premiere of The Snow Queen. This glittering new production is inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s much-loved tale.

It will be set to the music of Rimsky-Korsakov, performed live by the full Scottish Ballet Orchestra. From the bustle of a winter’s market to the shivers of a fairy-tale forest, take a journey to the Snow Queen’s palace, where you’ll find her surrounded by the icy fragments of an enchanted mirror. Along the way you’ll meet a colourful cast of characters, from young lovers parted by a spell to a circus ringmaster with a few tricks up his sleeve. Choreographed by Christopher Hampson and designed by the award-winning Lez Brotherston, this story of love and friendship is sure to delight the whole family.

Scottish Ballet Presents The Snow Queen, Festival Theatre Edinburgh, Sat 7th Dec – Sun 29th Dec 2019 for tickets go to: https://www.capitaltheatres.com/whats-on/the-snow-queen

The Brunton Theatre Presents, Cinderella, Brunton Theatre Musselburgh.

Cinerella musslburgh

The 2018 creative team return to the Brunton for this years family focused pantomime, Cinderella but not as you remember it, Cinderella is off to the circus, promising laughter, fun, music, and a few surprises with a stellar cast, one thing is for sure the Brunton will do its best to charm the audience of the Sea Side town with there take on a pantomime classic.

The Brunton Theatre Presents, Cinderella Brunton Theatre Musselburgh. Tues 26th Nov – Sat 4th January 2020 for ticket go to: https://www.thebrunton.co.uk/en-GB/shows/cinderella-%20pantomime/events

Falkirk Community Trust and Imagine Theatre presents Aladdin FTH Theatre, Falkirk

aladdin falkirk

Imagine Pantomimes returns to Falkirk for a second year with the famous tale of old Peeking. With a law decreeing that the princess can only marry a prince, and the evil Abanazar up to no good, it looks as though Aladdin’s dreams may never come true. And he’s not the only one! Aladdin’s mum Widow Twankey, has got the mixed-up Chinese laundry blues which are not helped by the fact they’re also very poor…If only Aladdin could make his fortune and then all their dreams could come true. FTH Theatre once again promise a show packed full of spectacular scenery, breath-taking costumes, stunning special effects, fabulous song and dance routines and hilarious slap stick comedy.

Falkirk Community Trust and Imagine Theatre presents Aladdin, FTH Theatre, Falkirk Fri 6th Dec – Mon 24th Dec 2019 for more info go to: https://www.falkirkcommunitytrust.org/whats-on/aladdin/

Qdos Presents Jack and the Beanstalk, Kings Theatre Glasgow.

jack and the beanstalk Glasgow

Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum… I smell a brand-new pantomime! For the first time in over 30 years, a mighty beanstalk will burst out of Bath Street as Jack and the Beanstalk returns to the King’s. Fresh from their trip to Old Peking, Elaine C Smith and Johnny Mac return, swapping their magic carpet for Dame Trot’s farm to follow Jack and his family and climb a beanstalk of gigantic proportions to Cloudland in another unmissable family show. Doomed to sell his trusty coo, join Jack as he fights to save the beautiful Princess, outwit the evil giant and win riches beyond his wildest dreams along with the hand of the girl he loves. Expect laughs, music, special effects, magic beans and bundles of audience participation in this GIANT of a pantomime!

Qdos Presents Jack and the Beanstalk, Kings Theatre Glasgow Sat 30th Nov – Sun 5th Jan 2020 for tickets go to: https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/jack-and-the-beanstalk/kings-theatre-glasgow/

The Pavilion Theatre Presents the Magical Adventures of Pinocchio, The Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow.

Pinocchio

Following the overwhelming success and return to form of last year’s production Cinderella, The Pavilion have decided to take the team on another Panto adventure its been a several years since it was last seen on stage at the Pavilion and it could well be the only theatre in the country to produce “The Magical Adventures of Pinocchio”. Based on the original story but with a Glasgow twist in true Hilarious Pavilion style and you can be confident that it is Good Clean Family Entertainment.

Starring Liam Dolan as the Hilarious Jiminy Cricket, River City’s Stephen Purdon as Pinocchio, Grado as Geppetto,  and more of the Cinderella cast to be announced very soon and a few additional surprises.  With a brand-new Script, Stunning Scenery, Sensational  Costumes and Magical Special Effects that we have become known for, it is sure to be; The Best Panto in Town!

The Pavilion Theatre Presents the Magical Adventures of Pinocchio, The Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow. Thurs 28th Nov – Sun 12th Jan 2020 for tickets go to http://www.pavilionpanto.com/

Qdos Presents Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs SEC Armadillo Glasgow.

Snow white glasgow

The SEC Armadillo will be serving up plenty of cheesy pasta this Christmas as the venue have announced Gary: Tank Commander will be back and leading the cast of this year’s spectacular pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to victory. Joining him will be Two Doors Down comedian and actress Doon Mackichan, with Leah MacRae and Frances Thorburn.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will be lavishly brought to life in a production packed full of magical mirrors, seven friendly dwarfs, an abundance of comedy, sensational song and dance and jaw-dropping 3D special effects, for which the annual SEC pantomime is so well known and loved.

Qdos Presents Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs SEC Armadillo Glasgow. Sat 14th Dec – Tue 31th Dec for tickets go to: https://www.sec.co.uk/events/detail/snow-white

We Will Rock You the Musical, Theatre Royal Glasgow

WWRY

The worldwide smash hit musical by Queen and Ben Elton returns to Glasgow. The multi-million-pound show dazzles all the senses in breath-taking style. Guaranteed to blow your mind, this musical phenomenon is not to be missed! Since 2002 over 16 million theatre goers in 19 countries have thrilled to this awe-inspiring production. With 24 of Queen’s biggest hits delivered in a show that boasts the scale and spectacle that marked the bands’ legendary live performances. 24 of Queen’s greatest hits, including Radio Ga Ga, Killer Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody and, of course, We Will Rock You!

We Will Rock You! The Musical, Theatre Royal Glasgow, Mon 9th Dec – Sat 28th Dec for tickets go to: https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/we-will-rock-you/theatre-royal-glasgow/

Qdos Presents, Cinderella, His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen

Cinderella aberdeen

Television and stage star Louie Spence will lead the cast of this year’s spectacular family pantomime Cinderella at His Majesty’s Theatre, alongside HMT favourite Alan McHugh, Call the Midwife star Laura Main, River City funny man Paul-James Corrigan, Two Doors Down’s Joy McAvoy, River City star Sally Howitt and Emmerdale’s Paul Luebke.

HMT audiences shall go to the ball as Cinderella transforms from rags to riches, outwits her Wicked Stepsisters and with the help of her hilarious friend Buttons and her Fairy Godmother, wins the heart of the dashing Prince Charming. Cinderella will feature all of the ingredients of the perfect pantomime; a fabulous cast and orchestra, laugh-out-loud comedy, stunning scenery and special effects, beautiful costumes and plenty of boos and hisses for all the family to enjoy. Cinderella will once again be produced by Qdos Entertainment, the world’s biggest pantomime producer and the team behind the annual must-see HMT pantomime.

The clock is ticking! Don’t miss your chance to see Cinderella, the Fairy Godmother of all pantomimes.

Qdos Presents, Cinderella, His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen Sat 30th Nov – Sun 5th Jan 2020 for tickets go to: https://www.aberdeenperformingarts.com/whats-on/family/cinderella-panto-2019-20/1887

Eden Court Theatre and Imagine Theatre presents, Beauty and The Beast, Empire Theatre, Inverness.

Основные RGB

Finally, the most northerly major production and indeed the biggest panto in the Highlands. Eden Court are planning another spectacular show this year with This year’s ‘beauty’ of a pantomime at Eden Court is Beauty and the Beast. A conceited Prince gets cursed and spends 500 years trapped in a castle as a Beast. The arrival of a beautiful, intelligent and feisty young woman offers the possibility of the curse being lifted, but she can learn to see beyond appearances and learn to love a Beast?

Eden Court Theatre and Imagine Theatre presents, Beauty and The Beast, Empire Theatre Eden Court, Inverness. Fri 6h Dec – Sun 5th Jan 2020 for tickets go to: https://www.eden-court.co.uk

So, there we have it our pick of the best of Scotland’s Pantomimes and Christmas offerings, but don’t forget to check out your local pantomime or show there are performances taking place the length and breadth of the country there really is something for everyone to choose from. We here at Scotsgay arts will be reviewing a selection of shows so keep checking back in the run up to Christmas and beyond into the new year.

Brett Herriot Review

Edinburgh Gang Show 2019, King’s Theatre, Edinburgh, Review:

Edinburgh Gang Show 2019, 

**** 4 Stars

A fitting celebration of 60 years!”

For their 60th Annual Production the Scouts, Guides, Cubs and Brownies once again take to the stage of the Glorious King’s theatre to deliver an evening of variety and spectacle and rather than marking the 60th Anniversary outright, (it wasn’t mentioned once during the performance) the gang are out to do what the do best and entertain and give the very best of themselves.

The Gang Show remains unique in the world of theatre making with no comparable’s to draw against and the Edinburgh is simply the biggest Gang Show still produced in the UK. It continues its modern formula of embracing modern tastes in its music, comedy and production whilst always tilting its hat in respect to those who have gone before, in fact Ralph Reader’s own material appears in 4 items in the 2019 production.

Leading the Gang in his 17th production is director Andy Johnston who also writes much of the material. Its his time as director that allows him to judge the show well and continues to deliver something very much for everyone. Although some of the comedy this year wasn’t hitting its stride on opening night, however it feels very much like pacing and delivery and should gather momentum as the run goes on.

Highlights of the 2019 show include. A highly moving and perfectly arrange mash up of “Falling Slowly” from Once the musical mixed with “Seasons of Love” from Rent. This is touching and emotional moment truly makes the audience think and gives the gang a chance to reflect on friendship and life away from the bright lights of the kings. The section “Mr Fahrenheit” lets the gang kick into high gear with a jazz infused tribute to Freddie Mercury and the music of queen. As in previous years Act 1 remains a tad to long coming in at 75 minutes on its own but as the show settles into its run it should tighten a little to compensate.

Act 2 has the true jewels in the crown for the gang this year especially “Wanna Dance” where Tatiana Honeywell builds on the success of last year’s performance with a simply outstanding rendition of Whitney Houston’s classic Honeywell has the west end and beyond with her grasp if she chooses to pursue a career are talent sparkles under the bright lights. “Born to Boogie” also fizzes with a huge tap number and nods to “Billy Elliot” this section truly shows the gang on form. Bringing the show to a close in traditionally staged manner with the full company on stage in uniform sees “Lady Gaga” mixed with “Ralph Reader” and it works wonderfully well. The closing of the show really sums up the joy of this modern gang show and makes for a fitting celebration of 60 years as the direction is set on the future.

The sound on opening night was nothing short of woeful, with far to many bang’s, pops, and at times the main gang working vocally together simply couldn’t be heard above the orchestra which given the show was viewed from the front stalls is poor, the gang deserve so much better, hopefully the technicians will get things sorted and deliver improvements for the rest of the run.

Other production elements continue to push the boundaries of the king’s capabilities, James Gow’s and Andy Johnston’s lighting design is simple excellent and delivers intimacy and full on stadium concert lighting when called for. Coupled with Alan Hunter and the wardrobe teams ever innovative costume design it’s a winning formula.

Joining Johnston in the production team is dance director Louise Williamson whose choreography this year becomes a true highlight of the production the trickier routines are performed by the core de dance with consummate skill, but she also ensures the entire cast are featured in the dance form throughout.

Musical Director Andy Thomson continues to stamp his style on the show and this year he and his orchestra have brought a filled out and rich sound to the music that fully supports the cast on stage thanks to the wonderful musical arrangements and orchestrations used.

The 2019 Gang Show does everything it says it should, the wealth of talent both on and off stage ensure that the Gang will still be treading the boards for the next 60 years ahead. Memories are a beautiful thing, and long may the gang continue to sail on the crest of wave and shape the lives of generations for years to come as well as making the most magical memories for gang and audience alike.

EGSPL productions present, Edinburgh Gang Show 2019, King’s Theatre, Edinburgh, Run Until Saturday 23rd November for tickets go to: https://www.capitaltheatres.com/whats-on/gangshow