Pantoland has been asleep for a long, long time but is now bolt awake thanks to this year’s explosive return to the King’s stage with their take on the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty.
The well-known tale tells of a Princess born with the curse of dying from the prick of a needle from a spinning wheel when being softened by a good fairy so that instead she, and her household, sleeps for 100 years only to be wakened with a kiss from a Prince.
In Pantoland tradition, great liberties are taken with original tales to accommodate the tropes that make pantomime what it is – a fantastical, funny, mischievous, subversive take on another tradition, in this case the fairy tale.
Welcome to the Queendom of Auchtereekie that’s ruled by Queen May played in characteristic style by veteran Dame and master of quick costume change Allan Stewart. Her daughter Princess Beauty, played by Glasgow actress Sia Dauda, is about to reach her 21st birthday and a big party is planned as all spinning wheels have been destroyed. Or have they? No! Panto villain extraordinaire Grant Stott, who appears in drag as Carabosse, the evil twin sister of Queen May who quips “Only one person in the audience could believe he’s a wumman!” has other plans.
The King’s panto has reached legendary status by at once being the same yet each year different. Regular audiences have come to expect plenty of local references, both fitbaa and politically related; jokes that are bawdy enough for adults but above the heids of weans; mind blowing linguistic acrobatics in the form of elaborate tongue twisters and puns; perfectly timed slapstick; the miming pop medley; smashing the fourth wall to smithereens; outlandish costumes; swanky dancing and of course the breathtaking flying bit. (No spoilers!) These tropes fill the Panto like a kid’s bulging Christmas stocking creating delight at every turn but despite all the clever writing from Allan McHugh, delivered so immaculately by the principals, a panto isn’t a panto without some farting jokes that create howls of laughter across the age groups.
Instead of the sleeping princess being wakened by a determined prince who’s hacked his way through an overgrown forest, there’s a more democratic tone with this Beauty being wakened by her best pal Muddles, played by Scot Squad star Jordan Young like a Scottish Joey from Friends!
This stooge role belonged to the wonderful Andy Gray who sadly died last year and the cast’s tribute to ‘King Andy’ was met with overwhelming warmth by the audience but another tribute is the appearance of Andy’s daughter Clare Gray as a punky scooter riding Narcissa. The principals’ cast is completed by Nicola Meehan as The Good Fairy.
This will be the last pantomime at the King’s Theatre before it closes for a £25million redevelopment next year, during which time the pantomime will transfer to the Festival Theatre before returning to the King’s in 2024.
Saturday 27th Nov 2021 to Sunday 16th January 2022
Matinees and Evenings available