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Theatre Review: Sinbad--Perth Theatre ****

Joy Watters reviews a production that has 'plenty to entertain'.

Ah, The Tay, The Tay, the silvery Tay where fang-toothed critters swim and gnaw wood all day. No apologies, it’s panto time and Scotland’s longest river continues to provide inspiration for writers of all varieties.

Perth Theatre takes the opportunity in its new version of Sinbad to make a plea for the protection of the beavers that have greatly multiplied in the Tay over the past decade. It’s a theme not without controversy as the furry rodents’ habits of damming rivers and felling trees are not to everyone’s liking.

All praise to writer and director Barrie Hunter for successfully using the medium of panto to combine his message, the environment and climate change (there’s even a Greta Thunberg-alike character in the mix) with all the traditional elements.

The audience is transported to Perthepolis and meets Dame Jackie Alltrades (that Barrie Hunter again) who lives on a houseboat as the river is all-important in this tale. We meet her daughter Sinbad, a feisty adventurer and her bookish son Finn Lad.

The family learns with horror that baddie Vindicta is all for evicting the local badgers and putting up shops and flats instead. Helen Logan always gives good baddie, cackling and achieving a high boo rating from the audience.

Hunter’s dame is delightfully daft, having fun with the audience, while Rehanna MacDonald’s Sinbad is determined and dynamic. She teams up with climate activist and Vindicta’s stepdaughter Greta (an engaging Rebekah Lumsden), springing into action on their plastic bottle river craft.

With lots of pop songs, music and dance, colourful costumes and sets there’s plenty to entertain. Last but not least, the youth cast performs its valuable supporting role as six little endangered beavers.

Runs at Perth Theatre until January 4.

Tags: theatre

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