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Theatre Review: Sleeping Beauty--Glasgow King's ***

Michael Cox reviews a production that's 'good fun and very silly'.

Well, let’s be honest: Sleeping Beauty isn’t really the best tale as far as plots go. If one were to boil the whole thing to plot alone, it could all be said and done in thirty minutes without missing a beat. Complaining about added banter and large-scale theatrical tangents is a rather weak argument: why else do Sleeping Beauty than to give the cast a chance to mess around and have fun.

So, it seems rather fitting that Elaine C Smith’s return to Glasgow’s panto world is made in this production, a show that is far more concerned with upstaging shenanigans than in telling the story of the cursed princess and the most dangerous spinning wheel in literature. And why not? She loves the stage, and the audience in attendance seemed to love her back.

Yet while it might be Smith advertised as the star, the best comedic turn is Johnny Mac’s Muddles. His tomfoolery is constantly on point, not only relishing his individual moments but playing well with the rest of the cast, particularly Smith. However, arguably the greatest gag performed on a Scottish stage this year belongs to Mac. It would be a shame to spoil it in any way, but it is a tour de force of timing, commitment and sheer nerve.

The rest of the company are perfectly fine, playing their roles well and forming a solid ensemble, and the production as a whole is fun: the musical numbers are sharp enough, the kids are adorable, the heroes are easy to root for and the villain relishes in cartoonish evil.

But in the end it’s all about Smith and Mac, who both shine in individual moments and together. It’s good fun and very silly—even if it does find itself crossing the line of good taste a few times.

Sleeping Beauty performs at the Glasgow King’s until January 7th.

Tags: theatre

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