Haul out the holly! It's that time of year again and the Santa Claus of theatre (Brian Blessed, probably) has been sprinkling a little bit of Christmas magic. Eric Potts' reinvention of the classic Cinderella is a perfect family panto for the holiday season, matching wit with warmth and stagecraft with silliness.
The King's has once again assembled some of Glasgow's greatest contemporary comedians to tickle their audiences. Local favourite and comic genius Karen Dunbar returns to the King's in a hilarious turn as Cinderella's good fairy, a wise-crackin' Glasgow Glinda who is less "bibbidi-bobbidi-boo" and more "bibbidi-bobbidi-glass-bottle-a-Irn-Bru". She is joined in her japes by funny boy Des Clarke as Buttons, comfortably and confidently filling the role of jester. Hundred year long snoozes and crystal slippers aside, it can't be easy being a fairytale prince or princess. Sure, they get to wear the glitziest garb but often find themselves little more than singing narrative signposts, advancing the story but ultimately sitting in the corner like Little Jack Horner. Here, the tonally beautiful Over the Rainbow contestant Jenny Douglas sings with the sweetness of honey and with a touch of the rock princess. But the greatest surprise of the evening is the princely Kieran Brown, a performer who sings with a rich musical sensitivity, acts with intelligence and makes for an incredibly charming Charming. There is nothing like a pantomime dame. Entering like two clapped-out old Priscilla: Queen of the Dessert dancers with corns, Gavin Mitchell and Gordon Cooper are outstandingly repulsive as ugly Hardup sisters, playing their roles somewhere between simpering idiots and Govan hard men. The pair are as magnetic as they are repellant and, here comes a comparison not to be handed out as thoughtlessly as poisoned apples, one of the finest panto pairings since Milroy and BaxterLong reign the King's panto! This production of Cinderella adds another jewel to the sparkling crown of one of Glasgow's most beloved theatres. A visit to the King's panto is as much a part of the traditional Glasgow Christmas as a trek to see the lights at George Square.Cinderella is at the King's Theatre, Glasgow, until the 6 January, 2013.