The Arches strike again with imaginative alt.panto starring Ross Allan and Rob Evans
For the last couple of years, The Arches have offered an offbeat alternative to the traditional panto – and this year’s Rudolf is no exception. The classic reindeer tale (red nosed fella, rejected by society, wins out in the end by saving Christmas) is told in an innovative way, using two unnamed narrators with big imaginations, who spin a compelling yarn without resorting to any of the ‘look behind you’/‘oh yes it is’ tactics usually present in theatre at this time of year.
The inevitable moral is played out at the end but not overdone, and the festive, woodland vibe is created with scenery that starts in the waiting area before the kiddies even enter the theatre. A small but adaptable set encourages audience creative thinking to picture the rest. Performers Ross Allan and Rob Evans flit comfortably between their various characters (man, woman, reindeer, duck) and strike a good balance between slapstick and dry humour to raise a giggle from the little people present, but avoiding seeming patronising at any point. It’s a sweet, clever show, ideal for stepping away from the mainstream Christmas madness.
The Arches, Glasgow, until Tue 3 Jan.