Cinderella at The Webster Theatre, Arbroath

cinderellaI love a good panto. I mean really, what’s not to love? The music, the cheering, the boo hissing, that lovely warm festive feeling inside you have by the time you reach the end? Done well and a good panto can be just magical. But all that really is dependent on it being done well.

After seeing the amazing Jack and the Beanstalk last December at The Webster Theatre, I wasn’t worried. After all both pantomimes are written by the brilliant John Binnie, an award winning Scottish playwright famous for his moving productions. Really, what could go wrong? Nothing as it turns out, everything was just very, very right.

From the very beginning we know that this panto isn’t going to be exactly traditional when we meet our handsome prince who looks more emo than classic Prince charmer. And the surprises don’t stop there, Cinderella is feisty, our fairy godmother has a bright pink bob and Buttons is an irresistibly cute mouse.

The amazing cast of stellar Scottish actors, including River City’s Carmen Pieraccini, had the audience captivated from the moment the curtains went up and we were instantly rooting for the quirky Cinderella and Prince to get together.

All in all the production is flawless. The catchy songs, hilarious gags and lovable goodies and baddies, have the whole audience in an uproar, and at times, quite literally out of their seats. The audience participation makes this production particularly special for the younger guests who were whooping with laughter as the ugly sisters Bangers and Mash made their way through the crowds and through the theatre aisles.

With loads of laughs, plenty of mad antics and some lovely touchy feely moments, I spent my time alternating between giggling happy big girl to blubbering sappy big girl. The kids loved it too, even my three year old, a notorious wriggler, sat transfixed the whole way through, magically mesmerised by the show.

Yes, it’s official, Cinderella at the Webster Theatre is definitely a panto done well. In fact, judging by the immense festive cheer I felt by the end and the sea of smiling, jolly faces that I passed as we left, I’d say that this panto is right up there with the very, very best.

Cinderella is on at the Webster Theatre until the 24th of December. For ticket information visit: www.webstertheatre.co.uk or call the Box Office on 01241 435800.

DragonQuest at Monike Country Park

dragon-quest-1When you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise….especially if it’s the forest at Monike Park! It’s a place I visit often and I’m always on the look out for birds, rabbits, imaginary bears and perhaps a Gruffalo or two, but on Tuesday night I got a lot more than I bargained for!

My adventure into the deep dark woods was all in the name of DragonQuest, an augmented reality theatre experience which involved me walking into the woods armed only with a torch and a scaredy cat six year old for company! Our mission (yes we chose to accept it) was to find Dan and Petra two scientists working for the Dragon Protection Agency who had managed to get lost in the woods. Rumour had it that they may or may not have been captured by trolls (big gulp)!

What followed was a fun and magical evening where we met a whole host of mythical creatures from fairies to unicorns in the beautiful, enchanting and somewhat menacing woods. Using the DragonQuest app that we downloaded beforehand, we even managed to capture a few of the creatures we met on camera.

dragon-quest-2I’m not going to give the game away and tell you whether we spotted any dragons on our travels or whether we managed to save Dan and Petra from the trolls – you’ll need to go along and find that out for yourself! But what I will tell you is that we made it out of the forest alive with very big plans to go back again soon!

DragonQuest is at Monike Country Park in Angus, Scotland until Sunday the 1st of November. Tickets can be purchased online or at the Webster Theatre, Arbroath.

*Disclaimer: I was given a free ticket in exchange for this honest review.

Hairy Maclary’s Cat Tales Live – Review

hairy-maclary-flyer-734x1024Hairy Maclary, my favourite literary dog, just so happened to be making a trip to The Gardyne Theatre in Dundee this week to perform in the new stage show Cat Tales. The production by Nonsense Room, sees every one of the Hairy Maclary characters brought to life on stage. Obviously I….I mean we….had to go!

My little people have always been fans of the Hairy Maclary series, whether he’s making mischief at the vets or just trying to get home with his bone still intact, there’s plenty to love about Lynley Dodd’s classic books. So we were all super excited to see how the show would interpret Hairy Maclary and his canine capers.

The stage show was set in Riverside’s village hall where a cat show was about to take place featuring Slinky Malinki and the terrifying Scarface Claw. When new character Miss Plum loses the competitions trophies plenty of fun and frolics ensue – resulting in an entire audience of giggling and animated children happily playing along.

The original books featured strongly in the story too with Miss Plum and friends retelling the classic tales in song, with the help of Hairy and his lovely chums. The show was a perfect mix of old and new, its old school charm completely captivating the children, who went from shouting along excitedly to silently watching quite mesmerised.

After an hour of brilliant family fun, we left the theatre chatting about our favourite characters with big plans to reread the original stories all over again. I can’t wait.

The Hairy Maclary ‘s Cat Tales tour continues around Scotland for the next weeks, you can find out more, here: www.hairymaclaryshow.co.uk