Oran Mor, Glasgow

Mary Brennan

four stars

It’s July and the plays, new and old, are behind you – time for some daft fun with that Play, Pie and a Pint tradition, the Summer Panto. Previous years have offered political spoofery, or taken the mickey out of Disney favourites – this year’s plot references Hammer horror B-movies with Dracula:Revamped, a musical caper (written by John and James Kielty) with more slyly pastiched popular ditties than you could shake a pointy stick at... Uh oh! that pointy stick has already been put to deadly use. Within minutes of George Drennan manifesting on-stage as Dracula in a patter song full of dastardly wicked rhymes – ‘vernacular’ being just one of them – he’s been staked by Jonathan (Darren Brownlie). Is it game over before the pies are even eaten?.

Fear not: this is the Pantosphere – or at least its nearby summer camp. And speaking of camp... as pranced and danced by a larky Brownlie, this Jonathan is merrily in the pink, pairing up hilariously with Angela Darcy’s growly-grotesque Igorette in a bid to rescue the badly-bitten Mina (and the ailing tourist industry in Transylvania) by bringing Dracula back to life.

Far-fetched? Nonsensical? Oh, totally! But as a means to an end – that end being gleefully ribald lunchtime entertainment – it affords lots of opportunities for director Towny Cownie, the cast and creative team, to act up with tongue-in-cheek glove puppets, visual gags and well-pitched one-liners.

Drennan is in his element, channeling an hommage to Christopher Lee, altho’ the latter never inclined to blowing a razzy trumpet inbetween sucking blood. Ashley Smith’s Mina shape-shifts from cute little miss to slinky vampette in the wink of an eye, her naive romance with Jonathan not unlike that of Brad and Janet (in the Rocky Horror Show) while Angela Darcy simply goes her full-on, comedic dinger, especially when the action comes unexpectedly unstuck! The PPP autumn season kicks in on August 26th.