- Lorna Irvine
- 24 December 2019
Adults only Britannia Panopticon panto is immense fun
Always a more riotous proposition, the oldest music hall in the world's adult pantos often feel like pure anarchy, where anything can and will happen.
Shattered Rosebud is no exception. Ostensibly the 'adult' version of Sleeping Beauty, it plays with the format and adds extra sauciness (one character gets aroused when being tied up by the villain; there's loads of swearing and filth) and everyone in the audience is in on the joke.
This being a Britannia Panopticon panto, there's superb work from gallus, gorgeous Auntie Effie (Grant F Kidd) and her alter-ego Fairy Effie, with her acid tongued Marilyn Monroe drag, and her inimitable adversary Sally Starshine (Stewart Fraser) as the witch Carabosse. As usual, Stuart John Irvine is a cheeky foil as Wee Willie, his dance routine a clear highlight, as he's just a beat behind the others.
This year, it falls to the support to bring even more kinetic energy to proceedings. It's young Matt Jones doubling up as King Caracus and Prince Thomas who provides brilliant camp satire around royal entitlement, very timely given the controversial behaviour of a certain Prince recently. His reactions and ad-libs bring yet another layer to the show.
The harmonies may be questionable at times, and even the props a little dubious (is that haggis or testicles?) but it's spirited, funny and feels true to the acts of the vaudeville days.
The vintage costumes are absolutely beautiful and the atmosphere warm and welcoming. Stan Laurel, who once treaded the boards in the Panopticon, would be so proud.
Britannia Panopticon, Glasgow, run ended.