This is an exuberant carnival, celebrating broad Glaswegian humour and harking back to variety’s past without nostalgia. It’s unashamedly old fashioned, despite the modern special effects.
The Pavilion’s commitment to variety sets their pantomime clearly in the music hall tradition: the plot of The Wizard of Never Woz provides excuses for the stars to do their celebrity turns. Mixing versions of popular songs and snatches of drama from the film, this Wizard allows plenty of time for the cast to wander off-script.
Every scene is based around showcasing a particular actor or routine: Johnny Mac’s Tinny builds his catch-phrase into every sentence, Dean Park uses Leo the Lion as a vehicle for his own cheeky radio personality. Stephen Purdon translates his River City character into Strawsuit Bob, the choreography emphasises the young dancers’ acrobatic skills and the jokes are heavily based on Glasgow dialect.
Although it runs long, every scene rattles past, the gags simple and fast, the energy almost ferocious. Johnny Mac’s routines have the genuine feel of old-school vaudeville comedy, and the big numbers gets the crowd clapping and chanting along. The Pavilion pantomime is never fashionable, but has a powerful and direct connection with its audience.