Brian Beacom

THE TRON panto Alice In Weegieland tells of a young girl’s arrival into a very strange land full of very odd but colourful creatures.

And that’s exactly the experience Leeds-born actress Daisy Ann Fletcher, who plays Alice, has enjoyed since coming to town.

“I love Glasgow,” says the 21 year-old.

“But I had no idea it would be like this when I arrived. It’s been a real eye-opener.”

Daisy Ann came to Glasgow three years ago to attend the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

The musical theatre student was spotted by writer director/Johnny McKnight when he directed the RCS final year show and cast the lady from Yorkshire in his panto.

“It sort of made sense that someone who wasn’t Scottish should play Alice, with me being an outsider,” she says.

“We’re looking at Weegieland though her eyes.”

But Daisy Ann’s own eyes were opened the moment she arrived in the city to study.

“It certainly wasn’t too dissimilar from the Alice in Weegieland tale,” she says, laughing.

“Alice’s adventures run close to every weekend I’ve spent here. “On one level, everyone is really friendly. You can’t walk down Sauchiehall Street without talking to someone. I love that.”

But it can be a bit aggressive. Daisy Ann, who lived in Renfield Street, (“near a couple of rowdy clubs”) tells a tale of drama that could have been written for panto.

“One night I came into the close at my flat and there was a bloke on the phone, screaming at someone.

“But then he realised I was trying to get into my flat and he became so nice; ‘Sorry, darlin’! I’m so sorry. Come in!Come in! And have a really nice night.’

“But as I got to the door of my flat he immediately began screaming into the phone again.

“That just summed up Glasgow for me.”

Daisy Ann, who now lives in Dennistoun, added; “At nights in Glasgow there is a drama on every corner. But I love that.”

The actress can’t quite believe the city produces characters such as The Glasgow Raver, the bloke who finds busking bands and attaches himself to them as a dancer.

“Every time you walk past he chats as if he knows you. He sort of sums up Glasgow.”

She adds; “And the city is full of Greggs’. That does it for me. When you’re a pennyless student they’re a lifeline.”

Alice In Weegieland slides into the Johnny McKnight groove of previous Tron pantos.

His tales reflect modern attitudes to gender - and always confound expectation.

Alice features the creatures of the Lewis Carroll tale, but re-modelled in the McKnight manner.

Knavey, (Scott Fletcher) for example, is foppish and almost gay, yet madly in love with Alice while Dora The Dormouse is a fast-talking, kinetic, gallus Glaswegian, all fishnets, Primark party dress and vodka bottle in the handbag.

Meantime, the Queen of Hearts (Darren Brownlie) is a delicious streak of mean, a drag queen with a mouth full of daggers.

Daisy Ann can’t quite believe she’s part of this world.

“It’s hectic and mad. But I can’t believe I’ve been cast in a panto as good as this in my very first job ever since leaving college.”

Daisy Ann always wanted to be a performer.

“I sang when I was very little and went on to youth theatre.

“I always wanted to act. But when I was doing my A levels I hadn’t planned to go to drama school, I guess because I thought it would cost so much.

“I sort of figured I would go to uni and study Philosophy.

“But aged 17 I realised drama school was possible. So I applied to the RCS.

“Yet, I never thought for a moment I’d be accepted.”

She adds; “I don’t really think a uni life studying philosophy would have been right for me. I don’t have the attention span.”

The performer has certainly hit the ground running, but as yet there is nothing lined up for the New Year.

“Not yet,” she says, smiling. “I was working in a pub before I landed the panto so I’ll probably go back there.”

Daisy Ann hasn’t quite mastered the Scottish accent.

“I’m trying to learn,” she offers, smiling. “It will be good to develop the accent to help me work here.”

She adds, grinning; “I’ll get Jo Freer to teach me when we’re in the changing rooms. It will be pure Glaswegian.”

• Alice In Weegieland, the Tron Theatre, until, January 7.