Review: Beauty on the Piste (Above the Stag)
The Above the Stag panto is not your usual family-friendly Christmas affair
The Above The Stag Christmas show is decidedly not the standard affair when it comes to pantomime. Billed as an adult panto, this one is definitely not for the kids and not one to see with your parents in tow either.
Mabel, a Fairy (Briony Rawle) welcomes us to a pre-Grindr world of Gaydar online where the standard affair is to lay on cocaine and hummus for one's so-called guests (read: hook-ups) at parties. It turns out this is actually the prologue for the story, where a wicked spell is cast on a young nobleman - he must fall in love with a boy, on the one condition that he gets the boy to ‘top him'.
Cue the arrival of our villain, Sebastian St Moritz (Simon Burr). With the boos out of the way, we meet Morag and Mac Trump (David Moss and Ross Tucker), a Scottish mother/son duo and owners of Trumps Tea Rooms. Their in-house help is Beau (Joshua Oakes-Rogers), a ditzy young twink who is promptly followed onstage by his father Gustav (Andrew Tuluck). Mac and Beau are trying to play match-maker with Morag and Gustav, and when it turns out Gustav's goats have gone missing the pair disappear to find them.
This is when we meet our Beast (Jamie Coles) who holds Gustav captive in a castle for stealing a goat thinking it was his own. Beau takes his father's place at the castle and falls madly in love with the beast and lifts the spell. The enchanted extras of a Beauty and The Beast story can be found in the brilliant Heidi (Ellen Butler) who turns into a new household object every two hours (or basically every scene she's on stage for). Everyone falls in love and lives happily ever after. The script continues with the Grindr-esque jokes and provides plenty of laughs and a few smutty alterations. The enchanted rose is actually a sex toy that moves about in a jar.
The songs are specifically written for the panto, and are few in number and musically nothing stunning. The lyrics however are well thought out and bring out some of the biggest laughs of the night. The singing a little out of tune, but as it is a panto and in such a small theatre it doesn't detract too much from the fun. Although Jamie Coles' strong and impressive vocals do stand out towards the end of the show.
The biggest praise for the evening goes to Butler for her brilliant turn as Heidi. She's genuinely hilarious and the whole evening is a highly enjoyable, exceptionally naughty, start to the festive season. Those not in the know of LGBT ‘slang' might get a little lost at some of the jokes, but if you're in that market, this is a brilliant way to kick off your festivities.
Beauty on the Piste runs at Above the Stag until 14 January.