For the past decade, The Tron Theatre has been knowingly tearing apart
the polka dot fabric of pantomime theatre and taking its audiences into
a mysterious postmodern realm; a refreshing world where princes are
less than charming and princesses question feminism.
Mathers and Gordon Dougall’s wonderfully Scottish new pantomime,
Ya Beauty and the Beast,capitalises on The Tron’s
notoriety for producing near cannibalistic pantomimes whilst being true
to a more traditional model of festive family theatre. We are ever
assured that the song sheet will be wheeled out when the villain is
vanquished even if the happenings on stage have proved a little
Bunty Beautox Andy Clark and niece
Mary Hill’s Sally Reid quiet beachside existence is disrupted by the
unexpected arrival of a hyperactive kangaroo Natalie Toyne and an
overzealously fairytale prince Derek McGhie. Together, the group
quest across to discover the secrets of the Pantosphere and overcome
the villainous Barfolomew Beastie George Drennan. Expect dry ice,
vaudeville comedy and plenty of audience interaction.
Andy Clark’s performance as Bunty Beautox is typically Glaswegian,
finding its feet somewhere between Rab C. and Mary Nesbitt. His rapport
with the audience is warm and effortlessly fills the heels of the
pantomime Dame legends who went before him. Costume designer Jessica
Brettle has not given Bunty a particularly spectacular or absurd
wardrobe but her designs impress without overwhelming.
McGhie’s unconventional portrayal of Prince Charming cuts through the
overindulgent heroism which the role usually calls for. Styled more on
the Prince Charming of Shrek than of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, McGhie’s
character dryly thigh slaps and winks throughout purely for the sake of
Despite excellent performances from the small
cast, the production is at times tired by its setting out to achieve
too much. Though the script hints at climate change, it is never
exploited. As long as the ice creams are still frozen by the
intermission, the altogether more political discussion of global
warming can melt away as quickly it was introduced.
problems are of no lasting detriment to an overall enjoyment of the
production. Ya Beauty and the Beast fondly captures
the nostalgia of a family night at the theatre, delivering something
altogether more unexpected without losing sight of its roots.