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mother goose, king's, edinburgh

All across the Pantosphere, there are little whiffs of change in the air: new voices are chipping in with fresh thoughts on the old, familiar panto plots and there's even a tendency to subvert the genre itself.

However, this Mother Goose, with the regular team of Allan Stewart, Andy Gray and Grant Stott at its centre, is still firmly rooted in the traditions that have grown up around the King's big family shows.

As expected, Grant Stott rolls out the villainous cackles: this year he's Demon Vanity in a peroxide wig and camp pink satin, speaking in excruciating rhymes with a call sign – "Aren't I adorable?" – to trigger the boos.

Gray and Stewart continue the running gag: Stewart's the Dame, Gray's the numpty who's smitten. Their spats deliver rapid patter with punning wordplay and hissy fits (the Dame's) because he – a tartan-clad 'Elvis' McSporran – keeps making amorous overtures in-between doleful claims of "Ah'm no w-e-e-e-ll..."

It's a double act welcomed by loyal audiences and newcomers, and when there are topical side-swipes and local references, such as Edinburgh's trams, the comedy ticks the right boxes.

This continuity, where's there's a guarantee of entertaining performances, is a strength and yet it teeters on the verge of a weakness. A samey-ness is creeping in, and no amount of Gangnam Style or a posh-tottie Fairy can, like a Magic Pool, turn a wrinkly old dear into a gorgeous stoatir.


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