Subversive fun with Johnny McKnight at the Tron Theatre panto
Johnny McKnight's (got) back, baby. This almost-homage to classic 40s Christmas tearjerker Miracle On 34th Street doesn't just celebrate bad taste – it twerks over it, with nae knickers on.
The storyline concerns Kristine Cagney Kringle (director / writer McKnight, a vision in red flammable lingerie and blow-up Kim Kardashian ass), fired from her job in a department store (TJ Confuse, a technicolour tat fest designed by Kenny Miller), and her quest to prove Santa Claus can be a lady in these supposedly progressive times.
Will she prevail, or will the oleaginous face of capitalism, Mr Bellhammer (a magnificent Darren Brownlie) defeat her? McKnight is on grotesquely hilarious form, his ripe Glesga patter deployed as if he swallowed Hello! magazine and regurgitated it into scattershot pavement poetry, referencing everything from the patriarchy to the Glaswegian high street, through to his Tom Daley obsession.
The standout scenes emerge when he riffs off spindly imp Brownlie, but there is assured support from Gavin Wright as Snoozy (great deadpan comic chops) and sassy Chantelle (Michelle Hopewell ), who possesses a gorgeous soul diva's voice and who owns the Motownesque numbers. Plus, composer Ross Brown's tunes are fabulous and catchier than the average panto.
However, nothing can prepare for the hi-NRG paean to Glaswegian dirt-mall the Savoy Centre, with McKnight rocking moves a stripper would blanch at. If it throws out the wonderfully acerbic one-liners in the slick first half, the second settles down into a warm, fuzzy show, where children from the audience are selected to stand as the jury at Kringle's trial. With reassuringly filthy puns, boundless energy and a big heart betraying its sentimentality, there's something here for all the family.
Tron Theatre, Glasgow, until Sun 4 Jan