KING'S THEATRE, GLASGOW
REVIEWED BY: Ben Dimmock, 8, from Bargeddie, his uncle Sean Dimmock and auntie Susan Swarbrick.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT? When wicked fairy Carabosse casts a deadly spell on Princess Beauty she is doomed to sleep for 100 years – only a kiss from her one true love can rouse her from her slumber. It stars Karen Dunbar as Nanny, Clare Grogan as Carabosse, River City's Lorna Anderson as Princess Beauty and Keith Jack as the dashing Prince Joseph.
KIDS' VERDICT: Ben: "I liked it when Corky the Crow went missing and Hector couldn't find him. Nanny was funny and had some crazy outfits. My favourite was Jimmy Jingles the Jester – he had the silliest jokes. But he was rubbish with the tennis racket, I didn't manage to get a single sweetie."
FUNNIEST BIT: Clare Grogan singing Happy Birthday was comedy genius. The gloriously close to the wire double entendres helped keep the grown-ups laughing too, not to mention the less salubrious Glaswegian geographic references.
SCARIEST BIT: When evil Carabosse unleashed the dragon. Although some of Karen Dunbar's outfits seared the eyeballs.
BEST BIT: Karen Dunbar was brilliant as the sage and street smart Nanny, while Tony Roper played a blinder as Hector the Henchman. Clare Grogan perfectly embraced her inner dark side, but it was unabashed heart on his sleeve performance of Arron Usher as Jimmy Jingles the Jester who stole the hearts of the younger contingent in the audience.
MARKS: 9 OUT OF 10
REVIEWED BY: Adam Smith, 8, his pal Craig Differ, 8, and Adam's mum Helen, from Bonnybridge.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT? Classic Cinderella with a twist. Cinders is transported to the magic forest by her wicked stepmum, where she meets a magician, his apprentice, woodsman and a kindly woodswoman. The magician has a book with all the fairy stories but Cinder's doesn't have an ending, so they have to create one.
KIDS' VERDICT: Adam and Craig were engrossed in the story and fell about with helpless laughter at the two actors pretending to be the ugly sisters
FUNNIEST BIT: Ugly sisters mincing and screeching and trying on the impossibly small shoe.
SCARIEST BIT: The wicked stepmother. As soon as she appeared the boos and hisses started – at times drowning out her voice.
BEST BIT: The wicked stepmother's lapsing into Scarlett's (from River City) accent. It was pure dead brilliant.
MARKS: 9.5 OUT OF 10
HANSEL AND GRETEL
PLATFORM @ THE BRIDGE, EASTERHOUSE
REVIEWED BY: Jamie Naysmith, 7, and brother Kester, 3, and mum and dad Stephen and Rachel, from Clarkston.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT? A modern version of Hansel and Gretel sees the children abandoned in the woods by their father, lover of mournful folk songs who is unable to put food on the table. Gretel is into metal and Hansel is a bit of a nerd who has invented a remote controlled badger to help them in their hour of peril. Lost in the wild after their trail of Ruskolene (it's a breadcrumb substitute) is blown away, they stumble on trouble when they find a house made of Tunnock's Tea Cakes – owned by a wicked witch.
KIDS' VERDICT: Jamie was on the edge of his seat and joined in with the audience participation, Kester said at the end "can we watch it again?"
FUNNIEST BIT: Lots of nice little touches. Not gag-a-minute, but pitched just right with plenty of knockabout humour for the younger children and some good one-liners for older children and adults.
SCARIEST BIT: "None of it" – Jamie. "When Hansel was in the net" says Kester, who had his hands over his eyes for long portions of the show!
BEST BIT: "When the witch got cooked in the cooker", says Kester. Jamie liked the joke about the baker with sticky hands (don't ask!) and the rock 'n' roll Gretel. Mum and Dad liked the jokes about a well known bakery chain and "fox" news, and the skilful way Scottish folk songs old and new (including a couple written by Drew Wright who doubles up as Father and Witch) are worked into the story. Songs by the Proclaimers and Tiffany (yes, really) are also featured.
MARKS: 10 OUT OF 10
ROBINSON CRUSOE AND THE PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN,
REVIEWED BY: Ellen Marland, 5, and brother Tom, also 5, and mum and dad Jane and Ian, from Hyndland.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT? Robinson Crusoe (John Barrowman) aided by his identical twin brother (Jimmy/Janette Krankie) and his dad Captain Crusoe (Ian Krankie) finds love (a mermaid) and treasure (lots of it) in a swashbuckling tale of the high seas. He overcomes evil pirates, sea monsters and ghosts to get his prize. On the way, the family are shipwrecked but are assisted and distracted in equal measure by the herculean Man Friday. Big songs, dazzling costumes, special effects and acrobats are all thrown in for good measure.
KIDS' VERDICT: Tom: "I loved it when Jimmy Krankie sang I'm Just a Dirty Wee Boy, it was very funny." Ellen: "I liked the jokes, and I loved the songs. It was great."
FUNNIEST BIT: A great Morecambe-and-Wise-esque three-in-a-bed scene, with lots of inuendo for the adults and slapstick and bottom jokes for the kids. Classic panto.
SCARIEST BIT: The sea monster that comes out of the stage with glowing eyes and smoking nostrils. Ellen was gripping her dad's arm at this point.
BEST BIT: Mum loved the dancing and costumes, dad enjoyed the songs and the great band. The kids hooted every time Jimmy and his dad came on stage. Tom said he had never laughed so much – even though he wasn't sure whether Jimmy was a boy or a girl!
MARKS: 10 OUT OF 10