Returning to the Aberdeen stage for the 16th year, Alan McHugh leads a new cast with spellbinding ease, captivating the audience.
Laura Main’s Fairy Godmother seems equally at home, a warm stage presence with a vocal performance to match.
The scene in which they use a video camera to interact with the audience needs some bedding in, but McHugh is on top comic form with his trademark tongue twisters that tie Louie Spence up in knots.
Spence’s Dandini keeps the laughs flowing with an innuendo-heavy performance, while Paul Luebke’s Prince Charming and Rachel Flynn’s Cinderella bring just enough romance to proceedings to keep the story moving and the audience engaged.
The sparkling tap dance scene that opens Act II is tightly choreographed and the well-rehearsed ensemble’s talent is evident throughout the production. But the comedy only really ramps up in the second half with a hilarious ballet scene involving McHugh and Spence and a superb slapstick routine.
Ugly Sisters Joy McAvoy and Sally Howitt, and Paul-James Corrigan’s Buttons, bring the skill of seasoned panto regulars to the traditional routines. The set design is relatively basic and the lighting simple, allowing the comedy to take centre stage and McHugh’s outrageous costumes to pop. All these ingredients combined make for a real Christmas family treat.