JOYCE MCMILLAN on PETER PAN at the Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow, for The Scotsman, 19.12.15
3 stars ***
FROM BAYWATCH to the Broomielaw, the SECC panto’s new celebrity star, David Hasselhof, makes his journey into the strange world of Scottish pantomime with a certain wounded elegance that pretty well fits his character, Captain Hook. He looks superb, cheerfully sends himself up, and delivers a touching version of My Way as he’s finally swung over the side of the Jolly Roger into the jaws of the ticking crocodile; and if he isn’t exactly John Barrowman – the all-singing, all-dancing small-screen hero he replaces – well, let’s face it, not many people are.
The truth about Hasselhof’s Glasgow panto debut, though, is that it still looks like a showbiz experiment that hasn’t quite settled in yet. With the Krankies and Michelle McManus also on stage – as the Smee brothers and Mimi the Magic Mermaid respectively – this Qdos panto features almost exactly the same Alan McHugh script, and spectacular special effects, as this year’s offering in Aberdeen. Apart from one fairly mind-blowing visual gag featuring Jeanette Krankie as a surfing Pamela Anderson, there’s a surprising lack of good Baywatch jokes; and the slight nervy stiffness of Hasselhof’s performance tends to slow the pace.
There’s still plenty of fun and glitz around, though; Michelle McManus emerges as a real all-round panto star, making a fine job of her traditional “whit fur” comic routine with the Krankies. And with director Jonathan Kiley and musical director Anthony England orchestrating a 20-strong team of singing, dancing Lost Boys and Pan’s People, the show delivers a fine night out – a little hesitant in places, but never short of visual sparkle, and sheer entertainment value.
Until 3 January.