Perth Theatre consistently marches to the beat of its own drum, offering audiences a panto with a modern feel that reflects the audience it plays to while still holding dear the traditions of the beloved art form.
This year’s production of Aladdin tops them all.
A fresh look at the classic pantomime tale, this show has real bite, complete with eco-conscious morality and a full-throttle musical selection that caters for all tastes.
Barrie Hunter’s sparkling script really does review Aladdin from its roots – setting the panto tale in the wee village of Killiekrankie (did you see what they did there?).
This potholing protagonist (Tiger Mitchell) is determined to make his fortune in the caves of Perthshire, while the family laundry goes down the drain.
Cue Countess of Killiekrankie (the deliciously evil Helen Logan), the boo-inducing baddie who hates children, determined to steal the fortune destined for our plucky Aladdin – but his panto pals won’t let that happen without a fight!
It’s a show full of heart, of story and song.
So often we are lectured that pantomime is tired, outdated, and crass. Not so in Perth, where the team have sent panto in Scotland to rehab for a modern audience.
On this cover show, Ewan Somers shines as Mrs McTwankie fae Killiekrankie, who might have a flatulence problem (it’s a condition…) but earns the love of her audience in an instant. She might be on heat, but this wummin does not threaten the audience – breathe a sigh of relief, dads!
Lewis Kerr ably tackles this dame’s loveable daft son, Hank E in this production. This gangly teen has the charm and the patter to bring the Perth Theatre house down – and he even gives us a sweet song!
Rachel Flynn is no princess in this telling – she’s a self-assured woman who stands on her own two feet, with her own journey to undertake.
In a feat seldom practised in these post-pandemic days, Perth Theatre’s community cast are a huge asset to this outstanding production. They’re wholly part of the plot, mic’d up and ready to go! Their energy and talent really is a testament to the theatre’s engagement with its community all year round.
Becky Minto deserves an ovation all of her own. Her gorgeous sets are consistently a feast for the senses – but this year’s feel a particular watershed. Elevating this cracking story and a brilliant cast to stunning new heights, every detail is considered in this jaw-dropping spectacle.
The cherry on this super-sweet selection box of a panto is Alan Penman’s stewardship of music. An eclectic mix of tunes that everyone can enjoy, with a particular nod to the Country genre shows the best of this ridiculously talented cast’s pipes!
It’s a testament to the strength of the show and its cast that even when covering other roles, this production dazzles as brightly as the treasure in Aladdin’s cave.
As festive treats go, Perth’s perfect pantomime is just the ticket!
[Reviewed on the matinee of 17th December, which was a cover performance.]
Photo credit: Mihaela Bodlovic