Ian ‘Sheepie’ Smith is a panto pal to treasure in Bev Berridge’s jaunty production of John Spillers’ music and comedy-infused script at Motherwell.
Smith’s Wishee Washee simply owns the panto, but without ever hogging it. The way he works his Gangnam Style callout guarantees it will get even the most reticent audience members on to their feet. And his delivery of the potty-level humour rips up the younger theatregoers’ funnybones, while creating plenty of space for even smuttier innuendo.
Which leaves Mark Hudson’s dame Widow Twankey less room to be a vehicle for humour - although what he has is excellent - but plenty to sport the magnificent gateau costumes by Albemarle of London, a different one for every entrance.
Alan Mirren and Jamie Lemetti add to the knockabout routines as well-timed members of the Chinese Police. Martin Clark is a cocky Aladdin to Storm-Skyler McClure’s princess Jasmine in a romance that feels downplayed. Jamie Bannerman plays the stereotype as the Emperor, but Oliver Patterson could play his strengths and villainy a lot more as Abanazar.
The Lisa Jayn Dancers - Dan Evernden, Kelsie Graham, Georgia Holland, Hannah Prior and Joe Stribley - give big, energetic, high-flying and perfectly timed dance support. A fully engaged production.