LAOS have a winning formula in their traditional family pantomime and they have a cast that knows exactly how to make it work – as you tell from the boos, cheers and shrieks erupting from the young audience throughout the show.
This time, it’s a panto-take on the traditonal fairy tale, The Snow Queen.
In Derek D Easton and Daniel Baillie’s cracking script, the action takes place a few years after Gerda’s parents have been killed by the evil Snow Queen, who has also taken Gerda’s brother Kai and turned him against her.
Gerda (the talented Michelle Weston) now lives with her Grandma (Derek D Easton, rocking the glittery heels and outrageous wigs with aplomb) and Pops (Stewart Borthwick, hilarious as ever), who run a toy shop.
As always, the duo hilariously entertain with non-stop banter and brilliant slapstick – even a malfunctioning dressing gown simply adds to the fun in this pair’s hands.
This year, they even have a new partner in banter in musical director Jan. In this story, Gerda is in love with the Mayor’s son, Eric (Claire Coyne taking the principal boy role) although his father disapproves of the match.
And they are up against not just one, but two baddies – the Snow Queen, played with icy perfection by Jennifer Brisbane and the outrageously wicked Daniel Baillie, who delights in getting entire Brownie packs out of their seats to boo him with gusto.
There’s more comedy from the hapless duo, Hans and Olaf, with Lucy Andrew and Lynsey Craig getting lots of laughs with their silly antics.
Great support comes from the Mayor (John Coe) and his wife (Jeanna Connell) and the Christmas fairy (Dale Henry) who add warmth and charm to their considerable singing abilities, while young Kai (Lewis Baird) is in thrall to his ‘mother’, the evil Snow Queen.
I’m not going to spoil it by giving away too much but there are bits that had me roaring with laughter at the antics on-stage – look out for the bedroom scene (yes, really) and a piece of business with the magic mirror that is, well, magic... and very, very funny.
And there are some really beautiful moments too. Larbert Opera is a company that uses the chorus to full effect and this show perfectly uses their talents, with lots of Christmas songs, with great accompaniment from Jan and the musicians.
The dance routines are excellent and some scenes - such as the entrance to the Snow Palace – are really effective.
Yolande Borthwick and Derek D. Easton have created a show that is lots of fun, silly and just a bit magical and is absolutely the perfect start to the Christmas season – snow there!
Christmas Fairy, Dale Henry; Snow Queen, Jennifer Brisbane; Pops, Stewart Borthwick; Gerda, Michelle Weston; Grandma, Derek D. Easton; Eric, Claire Coyne; Hans, Lucy Andrew; Olaf, Lynsey Craig; Mayor, John Coe; Mayoress, Jeanna Connell; Jack Frost, Daniel Baillie; Kai, Lewis Baird.
Caitlyn Grozier, Carole Fleming, Chloe Hendry, Christopher Duncan, Christine Jenkins, Danielle Howarth, Dawn Easton, Elaine Campbell-Swan, Emily Kidd, Esther Trevis, Gillian Maitland, Hannah Craig, Jane Newbold, Jillian Govan, Joanne Dingwall, Joanna Simpson, Karyn Russell, Katie Stevenson, Keith Watson, Kirsten McConnachie, Michelle McCartney, Misha May Landsman, Robyn Mckinnon, Toni Burnett, Yolande Borthwick, Yvonne Kelly.