Sleeping Beauty review at King’s Theatre – ‘Glasgow to its core’

Johnny Mac and Elaine C Smith in Sleeping Beauty at King's Theatre, Glasgow Johnny Mac and Elaine C Smith in Sleeping Beauty at King's Theatre, Glasgow

Glasgow’s annual panto at the King’s has been but sleeping over the last eight years, while Elaine C. Smith was away playing her heroic female roles in Aberdeen.

But now she is back to wake it up with a big Glasgow kiss as Fairy Bella Houston in Sleeping Beauty – carrying a song in her heart a joke on her lips and gallus attitude to prove it.

Smith is the boss fairy in a character-driven Alan McHugh script which is Glaswegian to the core, from its rendition of I Belong to Glasgow to its song-sheet comprised solely of Glasgow place names.

McHugh plays to the stars’ strengths with Johnny Mac’s Muddles given plenty of audience business and a perfectly contrived The Panto That Goes Wrong sequence of accidents. There’s history too, with a well-pitched nod to Mac’s predecessor, the late Gerard Kelly.

Juliet Cadzow is malevolence incarnate as a slinkily-clad Carabosse, undermined just enough by Paul-James Corrigan as her son Slimeball, but exploiting Will Knights’ arrogant Prince Callum to get to Maggie Lynne’s sweet-voiced Beauty. George Drennan is a dim King to Louise Ludgate’s exasperated Queen.

In keeping control of his principals, however, director and choreographer Nick Winston has neglected the ensemble, whose timing as a dance troupe is lacking.

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Elaine C Smith makes a triumphant return in a pantomime that is Glasgow to its core