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Robinson Crusoe and the Caribbean Pirates, SECC, Glasgow

According to ye olde treasure map – on which this panto's plot hinges – its owner will rule Glasgow...

Scotland... and even Paisley. Imagine then the palpitations of delight throughout the Clyde Auditorium when John Barrowman's Crusoe produces the map from his leggings. There might even have been whimperings of "if only" wishful thinking, but not even the Magical Mermaid can make panto-fantasy a reality. So really, the next best thing is to sit back and enjoy what is undoubtedly the most lavishly spectacular show in Scotland's pantosphere this season.

Ofpants, the official panto watchdog, had wondered if this year's promise of swashbuckling fun could match Aladdin's capers in 2010. Well no, it didn't – it bettered them, oh yes it did! The snarly 3D terrors rocketing towards us were even toothier and scarier, the ensemble of pirates and grass-skirted islanders – backed by a terrific live band – sang and hoofed with the pzazz you'd find in a West End musical hit while Pete Gallagher's dastardly Blackheart nodded in the direction of Cap'n J Depp, but had a flamboyant bad streak all of his own. What thrilled Ofpants most, however, was the genuine rapport between Barrowman and the Krankies, all three now truly genius-conspirators in the panto-art of good rude vulgarity (without gratuitous smut) and arch silliness, even at their own expense. Barrowman simply lights up the stage with his full-on energy, the Krankies leave us helpless with laughter at their fooling – she especially is in her element, the wickedly nippy asides and Wee Jimmy antics as a "dirrrty wee boy" motoring superbly at full throttle. "Five stars is only the half of it," said Ofpants, who'd gladly be cast away anywhere with this crew.

HHHHH

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