JOYCE MCMILLAN on CINDERELLA at the Alhambra Theatre, Dunfermline, for The Scotsman 22.12.12
3 stars ***
THE ALHAMBRA at Dunfermline – long used as a bingo hall, but now reopened in all its glory – is a very handsome theatre, with a large stage and more than 1000 seats. It’s therefore a delight to see it once again staging its own full-scale, Fife-inflected Christmas panto, and a real pleasure to see that panto in the hands of Liam Rudden, who recently helped make the Musselburgh pantomime into a strikingly successful local Christmas show.
In some ways, the sheer scale of the theatre seems like a bit of a stretch, for the friendly, rowdy version of Cinderella Rudden has written and directed this year. With just five dancers on stage, plus a team of local children, the show sometimes looks a little lost on the big stage; and there are some bumpy moments when the cast look uncertain and under-rehearsed – even the white ponies pulling Cinders’s coach seem slightly unsure of their next move.
There are plenty of compensations, though, in a show full of rousing popular songs, from this year’s universal panto anthem Edge Of Glory, to an energetic Gangnam sequence. James Mackenzie and Colin McCredie make a classy double-act as Prince Charming and Dandini, even if the jokes about McCredie’s previous life in Taggart become a shade wearisome. And with plenty of local jokes, a raunchy pair of Dames, and a lovely Fairy Godmother in Jane McCarry of Still Game, the show powers its way to a glittering conclusion, cheered by a Dunfermline audience who are clearly glad to have their theatre back, at last.