In these austere times, many local pantomimes aren’t local enough; original scripts and sets cost money, and it’s often cheaper to buy in a panto ready-made. This year, though, the Brunton at Musselburgh offers a real little gem of local professional panto, set to play to packed audiences throughout the season.
Cinderella, Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh ****
Written and directed by John Binnie, it adopts the fashionable idea of setting a traditional panto story in a circus, but – unlike the big Goldilocks at the King’s in Edinburgh – actually makes the circus storyline work, with Eilidh Weir’s adorable Cinderella sweeping up the sawdust and elephant poo in the local family circus, which her wicked stepmother-cum-ringmaster (a brilliant, whip-cracking Wendy Seager) now intends to sell off, since it’s making no money.
Enter both Lewis Lauder’s Prince Charlie of Tantallon, disguised as a would-be circus recruit, and stepmother’s memorably ghastly daughters Mince and Tatties, played with terrific flair – and a range of eye-popping costumes, including one in which they appear at Musselburgh races got up as the Falkirk Kelpies – by Graham Crammond and Andrew Dyer.
The sets include both a panorama of Musselburgh racecourse, and a gorgeous view of the Bass Rock from Tantallon, where the show reaches its glamorous gala conclusion. And from start to finish, the audience participation is loud, joyous, and beautifully cranked up by Binnie’s excellent cast, which also includes a chorus of half a dozen groovy young dancers and singers from youth theatre groups in the area, playing a key role in this vital celebration both of the much-loved Honest Toun itself, and of the pure joy of panto, this Christmas, and always. Joyce McMillan
Until 4 January