Magical tale for everyone who has never grown up

The boy who never grew up shows no sign of getting old at the Dobbie Hall this week as Larbert Amateur Operatic Society presents its annual Christmas panto.

Picture: Michael Gillen
Picture: Michael Gillen

There are some panto traditions that are a must: principal boy, an outrageous Dame and a boo-able baddie, and Larbert Opera checks them all off with relish

Then, of course, there are some Peter Pan elements that are a must: Peter, Wendy, the Lost Boys, pirates, Captain Hook and a hungry crocodile.

Those elements have been shaken up a little but they are all there, with a few extras, in particular the character of Mrs Smee, the Dame, whose killer heels have a starring role all of their own.

Derek D Easton, as Mrs Smee, and Stuart Borthwick as her husband/sparring partner, are a familiar partnership to Larbert audiences and their assured, witty and engaging performances are once again a secure rock on which the rest of the show is built.

But Derek Easton’s co-author, Daniel Baillie, also made sure his part was a meaty one.

His Captain Hook – a pompous, preening, plotting pirate – was played with perfect swagger and aplomb. I’m sure the cast were as entertained as I was by crowd of Brownies in the audience who laughed, shrieked, booed, cheered and sang as if they had been paid to do so!

Their rapport with evil Captain Hook was hilarious and his threats provided lots of laughs, as did the physical comedy with the Smees, which must have left Hook black and blue!

And there is tremendous support from the other principals: Chloe Kennedy (Tinker Bell); Michelle Weston (Peter); Tiger Lily, Claire Wilson; Panther John Coe and, of course, the hapless due of Mullins (Lucy Andrew) and Noodler (Tracy Allan).

Jennifer Brisbane was a very sweet Wendy and special mention must go to the young duo who really held their own – Lucas Laing as Michael and Henry Miller as John – despite it being well past their bedtime by the final curtain.

The colourful – and tuneful – chorus were well used in energetic song and dance numbers that kept the show ticking along.

Full credit to all of them for sparkling performances and to the creative team of Yolande Borthwick, Derek D Easton and musical director Jan Cunningham.

The joy of the young audience is definitely the magical ingredient that makes this Peter Pan fly – but there is plenty there for the boys and girls who have grown up ... and just for a few hours at Christmas time we can pretend we haven’t.


The Cast: Tinker Bell, Chloe Kennedy; Peter Pan, Michelle Weston; Smee, Stuart Borthwick; Mrs Smee, Derek D Easton; Tiger Lily, Claire Wilson; Panther, John Coe; Mullins, Lucy Andrew; Noodler, Tracy Allan; Captain Hook, Daniel Baillie; Wendy, Jennifer Brisbane; Michael, Lucas Laing; 
John, Henry Miller; Crystal Bell, Dale Henry.

The Pirates: Yolande Borthwick, Elaine Campbell-Swan, Jeanna Connell, Esther Coyne, Kim Dickenson, Joanne Dingwall, Chris Duncan, Carole Fleming, Dale Henry, Christine Jenkins, Yvonne Kelly, Gill Maitland, Amy McDermott, Fiona Rosser, Keith Watson.

The Lost Boys: Lewis Baird, Lynsey Craig, Sarah Finlay, Margaret-Ann Fletcher, Caitlyn Louise Grozier, Euan Marshall, Jamie McAllister, Kirsten McConnachie, Roby McKinnon, Karyn Russell.