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The Little Mermaid Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy

With one fin underwater in Atlantis, and one foot on dry land in the vicinity of the Blistering Barnacle Tavern, there is scope for this production to fall between the two styles of theatre and pantomime.

STRANGE THINGS HAPPEN AT SEA: And it's all in the name of family fun, as The Little Mermaid pantomime proves.
STRANGE THINGS HAPPEN AT SEA: And it's all in the name of family fun, as The Little Mermaid pantomime proves.

However, there is never any need for the Adam Smith's timbers to shiver in trepidation - although Nikki Auld's sea-witch Octavia gives many a stout heart the quakes - because writer Alan McHugh and director Jonathan Stone are in full command of the show's cargo of romance, evil doing, snappy dancing and uproarious larks.

It is not only wee ones who gasp with delight when the little mermaid swims into view. Or should that be flies? Julie Heatherill's Marina stays elegantly suspended above the seabed until she sacrifices her beautiful singing voice for the legs that will carry her to true love.

This really is stage magic at its loveliest, with every detail - set, costume and lighting design - creating a gorgeous-looking underwater realm.

On land there is an entertaining spectacle of another kind: Dame Coral Reef. Billy Mack's raucous, vulgar - pointedly buxom - barmaid would only embrace a PC possibility if it was a hunk in uniform. Rude? Oh enthusiastically so, and yet - even when stripping down to the 'bare buffty' of a wobbly fat suit - Mack's Dame keeps the patter and the business within the bounds of family fun.

But then, this is his eighth Kirkcaldy panto: the audience knows and loves his brand of naughty high jinks every bit as much as they love the local references that even make it to the singalong cloot.

A great supporting team, a happy ending with a little twist - it is a show that certainly floats the boat for all ages here.

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