Ali Bawbag and the Four Tea Leafs ramps up the satire
Authors Gary McNair and Davey Anderson co-write a more adult panto for A Play, A Pie and A Pint
Aside from becoming an internationally respected production house, Glasgow's A Play, A Pie and A Pint offers an escape from the child-friendly Christmas fare with a new pantomime based on both traditional antics and Glasgow's distinctive patter.
Co-author Gary McNair is well known for monologues – his Crunch, a witty yet serious look at the credit crisis found a home in PPP's lunchtime slot – but he has teamed up with Davey Anderson, a veteran of political and musical comedy theatre for a modern take on Ali Baba
'I guess it is a little more adult,' he says. 'But not in a Jim Davidson way. Panto has the potential to be mature entertainment: when you go and see the best ones like Johnny McKnight’s or Brian James’, for example, they’re working on multiple levels. The kids love it because it works for them but the adults are hooked in as well on big laughs that are perhaps going over the kids' heads, kind of like The Simpsons.'
Since McNair and Anderson are members of the DM Collective, a group dedicated to making political satire, it is unsurprising that their pantomime has sophistication alongside the jollity. McNair recognises that its roots in working-class entertainment don't preclude big ideas as well as big laughs.
'Pantomimes always have so many themes relevant to everyone: hardship suffered by the poor, greed versus good, the toppling of evil empires. With the knowledge that A Play, Pie and A Pint has a more mature audience, we’re freed up a little more to push the direct political references and ramp up the satire a little.'
This doesn't mean that there's no fun. 'The joy of writing with Dave,' McNair continues, 'is his comic timing is exceptional and he has real integrity. And it helps that we can have a bloody good swear. It’s also very, very silly.'
Òran Mór, Glasgow, Mon 30 Nov–Wed 23 Dec.