Tuesday, December 01, 2009

"A Christmas Carol" (Oran Mor)- December 2009

That I didn’t hugely enjoy this is almost certainly down to me rather than the show. Firstly, I was looking for an alternative to Pantomime or at least a non-traditional one; secondly, my ‘Pint’ was of the soft drink variety; and thirdly, I was going back to the office afterwards. I’m pretty confident those of you planning a drink or two before the show and staying for another couple afterwards will find this much more to your liking.

As a scaled down panto (with added expletives) it works very well, but rather than subverting the usual panto conventions as I had hoped it might, Dave Anderson & David MacLennan’s show embraces them fully. It’s understandable of course that when you have panto legend Andy Gray on stage, you want him in a ‘dame’ get-up but despite his skilful and playful performance, for me it tired fairly quickly. Like Gray, Anderson is a master at working an audience and as Scrooge he quickly has them falling into line and shouting out the desired responses. Keith Warwick is a strong addition to the cast in a number of roles while Juliet Cadzow adds much of the fun - particularly as an amusingly recognisable “Wicked Witch of the South” (although I hope Anderson & MacLennan were as horrified as I was by the significant portion of the audience who appeared to be applauding her affectionately when we should all have been boo-ing and hiss-ing surely?)

There are lots of amusing references to The Kings and gags at the expense of the financial sector but I would like to think I wasn’t alone in feeling Gray’s portrayal of Gordon Brown was uncomfortable and unnecessarily cruel. Scrooge’s musical number explaining his love of Christmas is a highlight and one of the few occasions when we’re asked to think a little. However, the inclusion of audience participation elements and a songsheet are exactly what’s kept me away from full-on pantomime in recent years.

If you can summon up the required festive spirit (psychological or liquid) then this is a great opportunity to see some fantastic performers work their pantomime magic up close – but it lacked the truly sharp and original script that might have overcome my dislike of the form. Bah Humbug.

A Christmas Carol runs at Oran Mor until Saturday 19th December
Image by Leslie Black Photography used with permission

1 Heckle

Anonymous said...

A brilliant show! Superb writing and at the risk of being wrong, especially concerning the wicked witch of the south, fresh material. This was professional acting and great value.

My only criticism was that I thought concentrating on Gordon Brown's eyesight to be in poor taste and the seats are rather basic for two hours - as I arrived early to enjoy my pie and ensure a good seat.