Thursday, December 30, 2010

"Flo White" - December 2010

We were sceptical, but last year’s “Ya Beauty & The Beast” at the Tron made us believe we could fall in love with their post-modern panto. Sadly it appears even fairy dust has a limited lifespan, and there is not to be a “happily ever after” ending, for despite a sci-fi setting this is very much a traditional panto.

If a panto should be judged on how the children in the audience respond, then "Flo White" is a resounding success. From its first moments the kids are fully committed and involved in the show – particularly impressive in what can be a lull between Christmas and New Year. It makes a particularly good choice for a Christmas outing for parents who get a little nervous around the innuendo that can overwhelm a panto – it's all pretty clean fun here. And although the Tron can’t compete with the 3D effects in Aladdin at the SECC, their own animations work very well indeed and make a nice addition to the show.

But a great panto knows how to balance its appeal for children and adults alike – and it's here that "Flo White" falters. Even adults who enjoy traditional panto might find themselves struggling at times – almost every scene feels just a little too long and cumulatively it becomes a problem. Do we really need two song-sheet moments? Two characters that require to be greeted every time they appear? A time killing audience interaction scene? An overlong and pointless game of bingo? Even a custard pie throwing scene gets tiresome. Only the 'Barry White' and 'Take That' gags have sufficient legs to justify them running through the show.

Alasdair McCrone and Anita Vettesse put in great performances as panto dame Flo and evil villain Hingeroan but at times both characters feel too large for the show more suited for a Kings-style 'spectacular'. Darren Brownlie's robot Mr Brockie goes down a treat with the kids and Derek McGhie makes the most of a limited role. Star of the show may be Sally Reid's excellent Snow White but it was good to see Fiona Wood given the chance to showcase her impressive vocals as So Shy.

It's a pity that the show didn't quite hit the mark for us, but we can certainly understand why many in the audience, including adults, loved it.

We received our tickets for the show through our membership of the Tron's Patrons scheme which we thoroughly recommend for anyone who is a regular attendee at the Tron. And particular thanks to the Tron for rearranging our tickets when the snow prevented us attending the opening night.

Flo White runs at the Tron until Saturday 8th January.
Image by John Johnston used with permission.