Hurrah! It’s pantomime time.
There is nothing better than a good, old-fashioned laugh-a-minute pantomime at this time of year. Laughter and glee for a theatre filled with children, and ridiculous pantomime characters chucking sweets into the auditorium (Except the weirdy-beardy health and safety “you could put someone’s eye out doing that” killjoys won’t allow the toffee chucking.)
Unfortunately, if you live in West Lothian, you’re not going to find a decent pantomime to which you can take the kids.
I mean, West Lothian has a fair-sized population. It’s remarkable that we have no panto worth shouting about. (And before the New Town Entertainers get on their high pantomime horse, Wizard of Oz is finished – two weeks before Christmas. By all accounts though, it was superb. Nearer to Christmas next year, perhaps?)
So, if you want to take your kids to see panto you’ll have to travel outside the county.
Just to give you an idea of what’s on offer elsewhere; you can see Mickey Rooney as Baron Hardup in Cinderella at Milton Keynes. How cool is THAT? Mind you, they also have Anthea Turner. Still, these are pretty big names.
Richmond panto has Jane Asher, while you can see Henry Winkler (Fonzee) as Captain Hook in Liverpool, alongside Atomic Kitten Natasha Hamilton.
New Wimbledon theatre (where?) has Pamela Anderson. And Cardiff panto has managed to bag John Barrowman to play Robin Hood. And here, in our proud and bustling county, we have… eh, nothing and nobody.
One rip-roaring panto well worth seeing is the increasingly popular Liam Rudden’s Sinbad, but that’s been squeezed out of the city to Musselburgh’s Brunton Hall. And what squeezed it out? Oh, yes. Allan Stewart and Grant Stott at The Kings – again. Alan Stewart plays the fool: Grant Stott plays some evil character – again.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I like Grant Stott. A Lot. (Sir Stottalot – great name for a pantomime knight!) But even I can only take so much of this year-after-year sameness. So, as long as Edinburgh continues with the same old same old, couldn’t West Lothian bag some of the bigger names – as several theatres throughout the UK seem to have managed?
I mean, Oor Cooncil have spent 20 gazillion pounds and 40 years renovating Howden Park Centre. Surely, we could have attracted some “draw” name for a local panto. Surely?