|Date||25th November 2021|
|Society||Larbert Musical Theatre|
|Venue||Dobbie Hall Larbert|
|Director||Derek Easton and Yolande Borthwick|
|Musical Director||Jan Cunningham|
Author: Elizabeth Donald
Fun and frolics. Panto is back. It was great to see everyone on stage once more and to hear all the young folk enthralled, booing, cheering and laughing in turn. From the opening when baddie Abanazar emerged - dark, scheming with that sinister cultured voice - the audience’s attention was caught. In this role Daniel Baillie was a master of ad lib responding cleverly to whatever the bairns shouted to him and turning it to his advantage. The storyline of Aladdin is well known but the antics of Widow Twanky and son Wishey Washey are always a revelation - from the fez hat, the puppet, the washing machine to the Mummy. Their quick repartee, some of it aimed at the adult audience, never failed to delight. Derek Easton’s Widow Twanky costumes were outrageous and the skimpy skirt one had the audience screaming, as did their air guitar moment. Stewart Borthwick created a likeable, cheeky character as Wishey Washey and made it look so easy. It is harder therefore for the straighter characters to make their mark but Claire Coyne as the worthy and resourceful Aladdin and suitor to a feisty Princess Jasmine, namely Nicole Nelrose, did, especially with their well harmonised duet in Act 1 and their misunderstandings with the lamp in Act 2. Dale Henry made a regal Empress and Robbie Landsman complemented her as a bit of a softy Emperor. As the Genie of the Lamp, John Coe lit up the stage with his camp characterisation and wonderful hat, revelling in the role, while Lucy Andrew and Jo Malik exuded a special brand of stupidity as the duo guards Ping and Pong. The chorus of villagers were welcomed at the start with the light and cheery ‘Celebrations’, a contrast to Abanazar’s scheming. Their singing, confident moves, colourful costumes and fluorescent scene all added to the magic as did the pyrotechnics and the fantastic cloths. Everything was well lit and, making it all sound good, the MD and her musicians carried on seamlessly. After such a strange year, the slapstick and fun of panto hit all the right notes and brightened up a cold winter night for everyone.