Pure Freezin’

Oran Mor, Glasgow

Mary Brennan


OH no it’s not! But oh yes it is! It’s summer panto-time at Oran Mor and the gloves are off. If you’re familiar with Disney’s animated fantasy, Frozen, then you’ll have some idea of what’s afoot when - in the blink of a wily plot twist - the newly-appointed Lord Provost of Glasgow is forced to show her hand and her magic powers. Forget the heatwave outside: here in the Pantosphere, Glasgow is iced over thanks to Provost Elsie’s ability to perma-frost anything she points her supernaturally loaded finger at.

You haven’t seen Frozen? Not a problem, because even if writer/director Andy McGregor has referenced aspects of it for Pure Freezin’, he’s crammed that framework with the kind of snash, banter and daft mayhem that owes as much to Glesca’ panto traditions as it does to popular music videos and super-hero movies.

And so we have a man in a frock: George Drennan, all front and frisky come-ons as Widow Swanky - proud ma of celebrity Elsie and the other one, Annie. We have a scheming villain: Tom Urie’s Mayor of Cumbernauld is the splendidly rank bad yin who’s out to rule Glasgow.

Will Elsie (Hannah Howie) simply hide away in her ice palace, practising her Wonder Woman moves and singing McGregor’s power ballad answer to Frozen’s hit tune Let it Go? Will tomboyish Annie (Rebekah Lumsden) take time between some sharp twerking and her hilarious double act with a talking snowman to save the day?

That snowman, by the way, is Drennan: totally in his trumpet-blowing element as the savvy ‘old pro’ deriding - while upstaging - the inexperience of those around him.The running gag of the unseen, off-stage ‘Margaret’ - supposedly sorting out the technical hitches - is just one of McGregor’s merrily inventive ways of going the extra comedic mile on a limited budget. The high energy cast, meanwhile, are pure meltingly brilliant throughout.