Mister Merlin (3 stars)

The Weegie-centric Tron panto continues to entertain despite uncertain future

Mister Merlin

Renowned for their particularly weegie take on a festive tale, the Tron may sadly be unable to continue their affordable Christmas shows due to the loss of their corporate sponsor. Unless they find another, the theatre will need to raise £20,000 a year through their ‘Save the Future of Our Panto’ campaign to keep the tradition going – but let’s hope they do.

Mister Merlin, written by Alex Norton and directed by Andy Arnold, is a reworking of a show last performed in the 1980s. Poor old Merlin’s wand has been stolen by some panto baddies (Bumble and the pleasantly named Great Bahooky), so it’s up to his former wind-up toy pals and now real kids, Penny and Peter, to get it back for him. With a little help from the Govan Fairy, who always speaks in perfect panto rhyme, the duo brave a haunted forest and several Marx Brothers-style physical comedy skits in a bid to help their favourite wizard.

A modest two-man band complement pre-recorded sound effects with stage pianos, tubas and cymbals in the numerous singalongs during the performance (audience participation is definitely required for this one). The Great Bahooky, played by Keith Fleming, is a comical highlight, coming off every bit as smug as Matt Berry’s smarmy boss in The IT Crowd. There’s plenty of sly puns, lots of audience interaction and songs. Oh, and a hairy, one-eyed monster with a big trunk.

Tron Theatre, Glasgow, until Sat 31 Dec.

Mister Merlin Magic Word

Mister Merlin in A Pure Magic Panto

Last performed in 1989, Peter & Penny's Panto has been given a modern-day makeover by creator Alex Norton.

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