Producing a pantomime in Braemar is never easy. A small village, a small stage and no backstage or dressing rooms. So what do you do?
Create a performance with a big giant, a big cast and an enormous heart.
Jack and The Beanstalk must have produced sleepless nights for producer John Macpherson but the result is a triumph. Lots of laughs, plenty of imagination and gimmicks galore.
The story’s well-known. Jack exchanges his cow for some magic beans. They grow into a giant beanstalk. Jack climbs up, finds a cruel giant. The giant’s killed and Jack and his mother live happily ever after.
Michael Holley makes a welcome return to Braemar panto as Jack and is ably supported by pompous King (Clare Strachan - a late but highly effective addition to the cast), Dame Trot (Aimi Blueman) and Princess Demelza (Rhianna Cameron).
Edna the Eco Fairy (Jessica McIntosh) is brought to life by some wonderful lighting and effects while Pete Mulvey dominates the stage hidden deep within the impressive costume of the booming Giant, Blunderbore.
His young henchman, Slimeball, (Ross Crawford) amply provides the main target for the boos. Flunkit (Sam Hubbard) and Simple Simon (Katie Strachan) provide strong and steady performances among the chaos.
There are some memorable cameos, japes and capers and delightful choreography from the troupe of youthful dancers.
The policeman (John MacPherson) carrying out a licence check on a milk float; and a dance in the woods with (an all too obvious and human) tree were two of the highlights.
However, the imaginative, and highly amusing use, of a centre-stage beanstalk; some pretty impressive pyrotechnics; and the extensive use of the hall - and audience - for some high-speed, colourful chases make this year’s panto certain to brighten any dark winter’s night.
Oh, did I mention the cow? Full marks to Daisy - the star of the show - brought to wonderful pantomime life by her keepers Amy and River Hall.
Well done Braemar, A small stage but a giant production!