Dixie Whittington: The Hamecoming

Oran Mor, Glasgow

Mary Brennan

Four stars

HOMELESS, hungry, totally broke and alone in London with a dependant cat to boot. Poor Dixie Whittington just wants to get back to her Granny in Partick. Mind you, times are rock bottom for Granny as well: eviction looms and her knees are giving her gyp.

If life for Dixie and Granny is no joke, this Oran Mor panto – written and directed by Morag Fullarton – ensures our lunchtime is stacked full of wise-cracking patter and snippy-witty punchlines, many of the most pointed at the expense of today’s posho-politicos.

Dixie (a bright and breezy Amy Scott) is, by her own tuneful account, a cock-eyed optimist. She’s convinced something will turn up, and indeed it does. If Dixie was a little less cock-eyed, she might suss that Dame Dora Dumplin (Dave Anderson, garishly be-wigged, be-frocked and big on the pithy asides) or Captain Cut-Thrapple (Clare Waugh, swaggeringly piratical and very aDepp-t with it) are not quite what they claim.

But, hey! We’re in the panto-sphere where cross-dressing and cross-purposes are the stuff of traditional mayhem. It’s only once she’s on the lugger – a buccaneer brig called Partick Revenge – that Dixie realises she’s been duped. The next port of call will not be Greenock. Ooo-arrr and ooo-er...

Can Inveraray Jones come to Dixie’s rescue? John Kielty’s heroics know no bounds here: whether tumbling over his wilkies or coming over all flirty in a frock, his Inveraray plunges headlong into ridiculous situations because he’s in love with Dixie.

Meanwhile, Craig McLean is in quick change mode, all couthy as Dixie’s wee Granny one moment, hitting the deck as various pirates the next – and delivering a running Riverdance gag that is a hoot. There are songs a-plenty, merriment galore and even a magic mermaid to expedite a happy ending. You’ll still be chuckling when the Spring season starts on February 10, 2020