Pantos are perfect fun

IN THE second of our two-part round-up, we catch up with charming princes, flatulent fairies and magic tablecloths as panto continues to hold Glasgow in its glittery grip

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Karen Dunbar delivers a superb performance as the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella at the King's Theatre
Karen Dunbar delivers a superb performance as the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella at the King's Theatre

Cinderella, King's Theatre, Glasgow (0870 060 6648 www.ambassadortickets.com) Runs until January 6.

REVIEWED BY: Ben Dimmock, 9, from Bargeddie, Lanarkshire, his uncle Sean Dimmock and auntie Susan Swarbrick.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT?

Poor old downtrodden Cinderella must evade the clutches of her nasty step-sisters to find true love with a handsome prince. Jenny Douglas, of BBC talent show Over The Rainbow, plays Cinders, with Des Clarke as Buttons and Kieran Brown a dashing Prince Charming. Still Game's Gavin Mitchell and Gordon Cooper, who stars in the new Susan Boyle musical, play ugly sisters Pixie and Peaches, with the ever brilliant Karen Dunbar as the Fairy Godmother.

KIDS' VERDICT:

Ben: "I liked dancing to the Ghostbusters theme tune and shouting 'Look behind you' in the haunted forest. Buttons was the best – he had the funniest jokes. Peaches and Pixie are the ugliest sisters I have ever seen. My favourite bit was when the fairy got squashed."

FUNNIEST BIT:

Buttons dancing Gangnam Style, although Karen Dunbar and Gavin Mitchell cracking up over their lines came a close second. There was plenty of humour for the grown-ups too.

SCARIEST BIT:

When the ugly sisters flashed their knickers. Once you see that, believe us, you can't unsee it.

BEST BIT:

Jenny Douglas was adorably cute as Cinderella, the perfect antithesis to Gavin Mitchell and Gordon Cooper rocking their retina searing drag queen look. Des Clarke, stepping into the not unsizeable shoes of the late Gerard Kelly as Buttons, won over the younger audience contingent with aplomb.

But Karen Dunbar, as always, stole the show with her impeccable comic timing. A stellar foot tapping soundtrack had everything from Jessie J's Price Tag to Madonna's Vogue. But you can't beat a good old traditional singalong ("bring doon the cloot!") to get you in the Christmas spirit.

10/10

Sleeping Beauty,

Citizens Theatre (0141 429 0022 www.citz.co.uk)

Runs until January 6.

REVIEWED BY: The Shields family from Kelvindale – mum and dad Kate and Graham, Daniel, 10, and Louis, 8.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT?

Beauty pricks her finger on a cursed spindle and falls into a deep sleep. Flatulent Fairy Goody watches over her and tries to find a prince to dispense the spell-breaking kiss. Cue much charging around an enchanted forest being chased by hungry ogres. This fresh adaptation has shades of darkness that will be lapped up by fans of Tim Burton movies and features a strong cast of seasoned performers and rising talent. Great original music but perhaps better described as 'seasonal theatre' rather than a panto.

KIDS' VERDICT:

Daniel: "I liked it all, especially the big ogre monster. I think he was on stilts but you could not really tell. I also loved the guys who popped out of the bottom of the stage to annoy the actors by repeating everything they said."

Louis: "They said I might find it scary but I wasn't afraid. I had to look after my dad when the ogre ran into where we were sitting because he was more scared then me. I was a bit disappointed they did not throw sweets into the crowd."

FUNNIEST BIT:

The Prince Of Nerds had some good lines, and the flatulent fairy letting rip every time she cast a spell was a blast.

SCARIEST BIT:

The giant ogre made a good baddie, but the baby-eating cannibal tendencies of the ogress had us all scared the most.

BEST BIT:

The fight at the end when it all gets settled and the main characters are all involved.

9/10

The Night Before Christmas

Cumbernauld Theatre (01236 732887, www.cumbernauldtheatre.co.uk) Runs until Christmas Eve.

Reviewed by the Braiden family – mum and dad Clare and Gerry, and Aoibhy, 7, and Calum, 2, from East Dunbartonshire.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT?

It is 10 fairy tales wrapped up in one energetic show, told in a fast-paced and very funny way. As pre-Santa excitement gets the better of five children they recount timeless tales such as Hansel and Gretel, The Emperor's New Clothes, Rumplestilskin, and The Princess and the Pea. All the familiar panto stuff is there, but it is quirky, modern and intimate.

KIDS' VERDICT:

None of us had heard of the The Magic Tablecloth, the Goat or The Light Princess, but Calum liked those goats and Aoibhy loved Kim Allen, making her professional debut. And when you don't know the outcome of the Emperor's New Clothes -

FUNNIEST BIT:

The version of Little Red Riding Hood where the heroine and her gran exit the Big Bad Wolf's stomach 'that way' was new to us and very funny. Alaskan Tyler Collins made a fabulous and somewhat lanky goat, while local boy Peter Callaghan's robber was one for the parents.

SCARIEST BIT:

The red eyes lurking behind Hansel and Gretel as they get lost in the forest. Very eerie if you are nearly three.

BEST BIT:

The pantomime's modern approach spared us all the set and costume changes, which often drag things out. We felt we had 10 pantos for the price of one.

9/10

jack and the beanstalk

SECC

0844 395 4000, www.ticketsoup.com, Runs until January 6.

Reviewed by Craig Differ, 9, and Adam Smith and his mum Helen, from Glasgow.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT:

A giant terrorises the village of Inverweegie, while at the same time Jack Trott, played to the max by a brilliant John Barrowman, falls in love with Princess Apricot, (Lisa-Anne Wood). If he wants to marry her he will need to thwart Giant Blunderbore and his henchman Fleshcreep (comedian Pete Gallagher).

With the help of his brother Jimmy and his dad Farmer Trot, and a little bit of magic from Fairy Firefly - tops marks to Ashleigh Gray for holding her own against some major league upstagers - he wins the day.

And that was after he had tackled some terrifying giant spiders, centipedes, bats etc in the 3D section of the show – brilliant!

John Barrowman, sang, danced. joked, swapped accents, and had a sword fight. He is Mr Charisma.

But this panto owes so much to the Krankies, in particular Janette Tough. As soon as she walked on stage as wee Jimmy Trot, the place erupted and she kept the audience with her all the way. For a woman of 65 it was a remarkable performance.

KIDS' VERDICT:

Adam: "I really like the 3D bit with the giant creatures and Giant Blunderbore."

Craig: " Jimmy's song about Pick, Pick, Pick was the best bit."

FUNNIEST BIT:

The 12 Days Of Christmas.

SCARIEST BIT: 3D

BEST BIT: All of it

10/10

Families

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