There is a pleasing female focus in this year’s pantomime at Glasgow’s King’s Theatre, with four of the six named characters played by women.
Elaine C Smith leads from the front as Dame Trot, with Anne Smith also on good form as the vicious Mrs Blunderbore; Angela Darcy is a force for good as Mammy Nature and Naomi Cowe’s Princess Jill refuses to be the prize for any giant killer, resolving to kill the monster herself.
Alongside them Johnny Mac brings his vast comic chops to bare on the role of Jack Trot, who’s in love with Jill, but can’t bring himself to speak to her, but impressionist Jonathan Watson is sadly underused as King Hector.
Though Smith revels in the series of local ‘Glasvegas’ settings, particularly an Irn Bru factory with an outfit to match, she could be a more dynamic performer. Her delivery still sounds rehearsed rather than spontaneous, only coming into her own when she’s singing, while Alan McHugh’s rewrites of his original lines for her dame role do not always make sense.
The main issue is that Johnny Mac occupies much the same comic space as Smith and director Jonny Bowles hasn’t done much to balance out their scenes together. When alone on stage, Mac owns it. His take on the song sheet, involving four kids from the audience, is impeccably done with patience and no little determination to get the routine worked out right.