The Emperor's New Clothes
Òran Mór’s Christmas panto written by Dave Anderson offers seething satire and utter unabashed filth.
Day one of Òran Mór’s Christmas panto, and the room is stuffed full, almost to breaking point – such is the love for Dave Anderson, creator of this wee gem. With Anderson, giving good camp in char-lady drag, are his merry sidekicks, Frances Thorburn, George Drennan and Juliet Cadzow. Cadzow excels as the titular pompous emperor in a padded nudie suit, complete with festive dangling appendage. Her braying and comic timing, portraying members of the Royal family, is a joy.
Updating the morality tale for the 21st century (with a pastiche of modern designers trying to convince the emperor that 'the altogether' is the best look, after an unsuccessful attempt with an animal print onesie), there is the usual winning formula of agit-prop, wonderful wordplay, and utter unabashed filth – after all, where else in Glasgow at lunchtime could there be a spirited chant of, 'We love Boaby'? (Boaby, of course, being the character played by Thorburn). Each actor gets their turn to shine, with Thorburn's rather lovely tinkly ballad about child poverty and gender conditioning a real highlight – poignant, melancholic and gorgeously sung.
Such is the secret to the Òran Mór’s success – the skewering of Nativity tropes, as well as the seething satire, bubbling away underneath, which takes in Farage, pointless celebrity worship, the immigration debate and of course the 45% who voted yes to an independent Scotland in the referendum .
'We're aw' breakin' the fourth wall, do ya see?' deadpans Anderson, quite reasonably, during a missed cue, while clutching his impressively pneumatic bosom. Needless to say, it all culminates in a somewhat anarchic and silly singalong, with the lyrics to the chorus – almost on a par with Monty Python's 'Spam Song' in terms of their depth and complexity – written on a blind.
Òran Mór, Glasgow, until Sat 20 Dec