Panto of fun, laughter and wig mishaps!

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As if Cinderella’s sisters aren’t enough of a hoot, Graeme Massie managed to raise the bar on review night with a hilarious series of genuine mishaps which sent gales of laughter round Aboyne Community Theatre last week, writes Joan Anderson.

Malfunctions of wig and water pistol, then forgetting to enter stage left, were all greeted with roars of approval from an audience who appreciated Graeme’s ability to ad lib himself out of unexpected situations and take us in on the joke.

That’s not to take anything away from his oppo, James Atkinson who was a fitting matching talent...and had to be equally nimble-thinking to cope with his accident prone “sibling” in this Deeside Musical Society production.

Every time these two appeared on stage, it was like being transported to the great theatres of Glasgow, Edinburgh or Aberdeen, watching some of the big names in showbiz don candy stripes and polka dots and strut their stuff in what must be the toughest roles in panto.

DMS had the benefit of a super script and story line, adapted to include a very clever scene from Strictly Come Dancing, yucky baking with the leading comic characters, an exploding oven and an Elvis impersonator. It certainly sparkled with entertainment under Vicki May’s able direction and Frank Odds’s musical inspiration.

Lovely Shannon Galbraith as Cinderella and the charming prince Kirsty Clements brought a Disneyesque sparkle to their leading roles and a fresh, clear harmony to their duets. Phil Benzie was his all-round excellent self as the skint Baron and Morag Thomson’s gorgeous singing voice was a perfect antidote for her stepmother’s wicked shrieks, upon which one could have grated cheese. Marvellous stuff.

There were great performances from Stephanie Thomson-Mitchell as the rhyming fairy godmother, Imogen McEwan as the dashing Dandini and Craig Gilbin as a stalwart butler and announcer.

One star fairly twinkling up there with the ugly sisters was Rory Beaton as the all-singing, all-dancing, extremely funny Buttons, whose unrequited love for Cinderella had the pumped-up kids feeling sorry for him to the point where they didn’t even mind being showered with rabbit droppings (raisins) because regulations don’t allow thrown sweeties at pantomimes any more.

Speaking of children, the younger chorus members delivered top-class singing and dancing in several roles, including soldiers and ghouls. Well done Dylan, Roan, Naomi, Jocelyn, Rebecca, Katherine, Alexander and both Bethanys.

The inspired introduction of a couple of cowboy builders trying to repossess Hardup Hall gave the delightful duo Jennie Symons and John Thomson a chance to knit the storyline together with comic continuity. And John’s Elvis impersonation at the end was brilliant.

Sarah McKay and Jessica McKay did a great job as both ends of Hagan the Horse and, as ever, DMS’s multi-talented chorus line – Sheila Benzie, Nancy Davidson, Jessica Rebecca, Abigail Thomson, Brian Miller and Neil Thomson - looked and sounded more like supporting cast in all their glory.

There isn’t room to mention the backroom boys and girls, but you can’t produce a super show like that without a matching wealth of blood, sweat and talent off stage. Bravo DMS. That’s a Big Fat 10 from me.