Panto review:

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

SEC Armadillo, Glasgow

Mary Brennan

four stars

‘Don’t blame it on the sunshine

Don’t blame it on the moonlight

Don’t blame it on the good times

Blame it on the...Ga-ry!’

The Gary in question being Gary: Tank Commander, the TV character created by Greg McHugh who is now goofin’ aboot, as the comedy lynchpin of this Snow White.

His mammy, Nanny McWee (Leah MacRae) explains that jester Gary thinks he’s a soldier... frankly, the audience couldn’t care a hoot for explanations. They just want McHugh to bring Gary to life again, his accent and patois going daft walkabout round bits of Scotland while he acts the naive eejit.

Don’t blame it on the Gary if you feel that, elsewhere, this show is more brash spectacular than traditional panto – Qdos Entertainment doubtless reckon that the Armadillo’s vast auditorium needs glitzy costumes, lavish sets, big (and unstintingly slick) song’n’dance routines and 3D effects to reach all corners. For sure, when we follow Gary into the Forbidden Forest, those 3D creepy-crawlies get right in your face wherever you sit: the scared-but-thrilled screams aren’t only from the wee ones!

Most folk, whatever their age, probably know Snow White’s story, so the brisk way in which key elements are dealt with possibly doesn’t matter. Especially when you have a sweet songbird in Frances Thorburn’s Snow White, a steadfast Prince in Matthew McKenna and a totally fabulous baddie in Doon Mackichan’s Queen Lucretia. Wow! She is one evil diva, all slink and ego in clinging black sequins and bling, purring and snarling as she plots Snow White’s demise and tries to vamp the Prince into marriage – she fails on both scores, but watching her in action is a highlight at every turn.

The dwarfs – seven guys toddling on like the miniature Lord Farquaad in Shrek – are another source of amusement but it’s Gary who gets the biggest response. You can’t blame him – McHugh is cooking on gas from first to last.