Although a relatively recent addition to the Glaswegian pantomime season, the SECC’s entry makes up for what it lacks in tradition with energy and special effects.
Featuring a loud sound system, state of the art 3D projections (including monsters that are a little harsh for the youngest audience members), a live horse, a pantomime cow, Janette Krankie back on the aerial wires, John Barrowman toying with gay humour, a polished dance troupe, a sword fight and a patriotic final singalong - this Jack and the Beanstalk constantly entertains at a high pitch.
The chemistry between the Krankies and Barrowman makes it difficult to tell which gags are scripted and which ad-libbed - if the humour tends towards the fruity, it is never too obvious. Barrowman enjoys getting intimate with the audience during a Glaswegian version of The Twelve Days of Christmas while Janette Krankie steals the show with a solo number.
The show nicely balances local humour with a determinedly modern stagecraft - when Barrowman rides a horse on stage or fights the giant in a sequence that seems ripped from a video game, it becomes clear that Qdos will spare no expensive to make the SECC pantomime the most vibrant, energetic and essential in Glasgow.