From the second the funky disco music kicks in, there’s no let-up in the energy of macrobert’s glitter-tastic modern version of ‘Aladdin’.
There’s no let up in the laughs either, as we head to Discotopia, thanks to a cracking script by Johnny McKnight. It’s witty and pacy with plenty to make adults laugh out loud (young children will probably laugh most at the pumping jokes, of course, but that’s as it should be!).
The macrobert has firmly established its own proud tradition of offering panto with a modern twist. So, this Aladdin happens to be a girl – with Dawn Sievewright belying her tiny frame to fill the stage with hugely energetic dancing and a surprisingly big voice.
Johnny McKnight usually also plays the Dame, but this year that honour goes to River City star Andy Clark, who makes a wonderfully funny Dame, Marge O’Reen – proprietress of a laundrette/sausage roll and pasties shop – even if he is occasionally upstaged by his costumes, which take designer ‘labels’ to a new level ...
Robert Jack builds a wonderful rapport with the audience as dim but loveable Wishee Washee, while Wee Jeanie (Helen McAlpine) with her multi-layered pinnies is entertaining, endearing ... and a great singer.
Julie Brown, who also directs, is a magnificent baddie as “long-lost Auntie” Lilith, who will do anything to get her perfectly manicured hands on some rusty old lamp.
The young members of the chorus, from macrobert’s drama classes, are all excellent and provide solid, often very funny, support.
It’s telling that it was only when they were taking the curtain call that I realised quite how small the cast is – macrobert definitely punches above its weight when it comes to the festive season.
That all of the cast are strong vocalists is no surprise as music is at the heart of this disco-tastic show ... and the hits just keep coming.
One small warning, though – you’ll be singing ‘We Built This City’ (on sausage rolls) for weeks afterwards.
‘Aladdin’ is at the macrobert arts centre, Stirling, until January 4, 2015. Visit www.macrobert.org for details.