JJJ Oran Mor, Glasgow
There are times I wonder whether the latest generation of Oran Mor panto- makers really quite get it, about the art of pantomime. As leaders of Scottish theatre in the radical 1970s, David Anderson and David MacLennan took up with the panto tradition, when A Play, A Pie And A Pint began in 2004, because of what you could call its structural narrative radicalism. In panto there are always poor and oppressed people rebelling against the powerful, cruel and arrogant. Around these stories, the late MacLennan would weave hilarious contemporary political satires, often featuring Anderson as Dame and chief musician.
Well, Anderson still often appears as Dame; but what we tend to get now, at Oran Mor, is an off-hand version of a panto story, set in contemporary Glasgow but with no real satirical target, punctuated by songs and a few half-hearted political jokes.
And so it is with Andy McGregor’s Pure Freezin’, which takes the story of the iconic Disney film Frozen, gives it an entertaining Glasgow twist, and bashes through it merrily enough, without giving the audience a single radical thought to conjure with.
George Drennan turns in an impressive performance as Elsie and Anna’s Mum Widow Swanky, with Tom Urie in fine voice and frightening fake tan as Anna’s false lover, and Hannah Howie and Rebekah Lumsden pure excellent as the two sisters. But what’s it all for, apart from mild summer fun? Hard to say; and when an Oran Mor panto offers only an unfunny version of Ye Canny Shove Yer Granny Off A Bus as its closing singalong, you know for sure that these are not vintage times.
Until 21 July.