JOYCE MCMILLAN on SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS at the King’s Theatre, Edinburgh, for The Scotsman, 5.12.15
4 stars ****
IF GOOD TASTE is what you’re after, then perhaps you’d better avoid the dear old King’s Theatre in Leven Street for the next six weeks or so. This year, the smutty joke count is high – although always framed in good old-fashioned double entendres – and the final pink-and-turquoise walkdown so garishly spectacular, in its mountainous ostrich feathers, that it looks as if Edinburgh’s new Street Of Light had somehow exploded, and deposited all its debris on the King’s stage.
Yet if you fancy some daft and rollicking panto fun, laced with idiotic tongue-twisters, spectacular effects only loosely linked to the story, and the odd decent topical joke, then this latest Q-dos panto at the King’s is the show for you, brought to life not only by the King’s tried-and tested trio of stars in vintage form, but also by a feistier-than-usual prince and princess in Greg Barrowman – junior version of his uncleJohn, and just as multi-talented – and the lovely Frances Mayli McCann, one of the stars of the National Theatre of Scotland’s recent smash hit, Our Ladies Of Perpetual Succour.
So we have Grant Stott’s impressive (and very tall) wicked queen Sadista acting up a storm of evil, with only haphazard resistance from Allan Stewart’s Dame, Nurse May, and her useless boyfriend Hector, played with the usual daft comic brilliance by Andy Gray. Admittedly, the show’s approach to the plot of Snow White is sketchy. Such is the King’s commitment to keeping its panto at a brisk two hours that the oompah-loompah-style seven dwarfs are barely on stage long enough to introduce themselves, and Frances Mayli McCann’s lovely, spirited Snow White is denied even her glass coffin; she bites the apple, drops dead, and is revived by a quick snog from the prince almost before we can say abracadabra – which, in any case, we’re not invited to do.
There’s plenty of booing and hissing, though, along with fine singing and dancing, including this year’s favourite panto anthem, Shut Up And Dance with Me. The young stars from the Edinburgh Dance Academy pound the stage with terrific joie-de-vivre. And if Stewart and Gray’s brief satirical appearance as Super Sturgeon and Super Salmond is disappointingly brief, their turn as the ageing Bay City Rollers has the audience roaring with laughter, and sets us up for a final singalong chorus of Shang-A-Lang that sends us out into the night wreathed in Christmas smiles – just ike last year, and, with any luck, next year too.
King’s Theatre, Edinburgh, until 17 January.