It’s panto time at The Brunton again, and this year’s show is “Cinderella” which is written and directed by Mark Cox.
The Brunton’s own website lists this show as “Cinderella is full of fun and laughter with oodles of gags, local references, chart hits, outrageous costumes and lots of singing, dancing and shouting out”, and that pretty much sums up the whole show...it simply does what the label says it does.
Everyone out there reading this review knows at least I hope the basic story of Cinderella, but this is very definitely a Scottish version for a local audience, and judging from the audience reactions of both adults and children, they love it.
Cinderella is played in over the top “goodiness” by Kirsty Halliday and makes a fine contrast to her two wicked step-sisters –Grizelda (Mark McDonnell) and Dougaleeena (Richard Conlon). As always with Cinderella, it is the wicked step-sisters who really carry the show along and both Mark and Richard do this wonderfully in true pantomime villainy as they prey upon Cinderella and her hapless father Baron Dougall of Scoughall (Sean Hay).
Our handsome Prince Jamie of Joppa (Blair Robertson) gets to preen in over the top vanity in wonderful style aided by his faithful servant Andy (Keith McLeish).
No modern Cinderella story is complete of course without a Fairy Godmother (Fairy Wulma here played by Shonagh Price) and a love struck Buttons (Derek McGhie)
Cinderella is just simply traditional pantomime entertainment for the whole family at this time of year, and it is a pleasant surprise to see a generation of young children who have grown up in an internet and CGI graphics world still reacting to pantomime as many generations before them have over the years.
Pantomime is what it is, and the normal rules for reviewing stage shows don’t really apply. Everyone on stage just gets to be over the top in whatever role they are playing.
It was also of course nice to see this show giving some young talent made up from the ranks of local children and The Brunton Youth Theatre a chance to be on stage and perform in a show like this.
The wicked step-sisters always steal any Cinderella story for me, and Richard Conlon as Dougaleeena did steal the show a bit for me with his villainy here.
There are also a few nice little surprises in this show, but telling you about them would spoil the fun a bit if you were expecting them, so you will just have to go along and find them out for yourself.
Review by Tom King