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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