In his ninth consecutive appearance in Motherwell panto, Iain ‘Sheepie’ Smith gives a real spark to Bev Berridge’s basic Jack and the Beanstalk script as Jack’s daffy wee brother, Billy.
There’s already plenty of physical energy from the four well-drilled and high kicking Lisa Jayn Dancers, but Smith adds something extra. He’s the kind of performer capable of lifting a good pantomime into the realms of greatness.
Smith’s strength is his audience rapport. They know all the catch phrases, and when the music track ‘breaks’ during the “behind you” routine, they happily fill in.
Having such a big character at the heart of the show reduces the impact of the other stock characters. James Barrie’s Dame Trott is least well served, although he works hard and has fun with Alex Robertson’s King McDafty. Grant Lawson’s Fleshcreep feels underplayed – he needs to create a bigger character to earn his boos.
Casting Abbie Purvis as the Fairy is a great touch and she uses her clear singing voice well, though her character needs more development. Craig Anthony-Ralston and Betty Valencia round of a conventional Jack-Princess romantic duo with strong – not sappy – versions of the necessary contemporary pop hits.