Beauty and the Beast at the Webster Theatre, Arbroath

Every year my family and I make a point of going to see the pantomime at the Webster Memorial Theatre in Arbroath. Filled with fun and frolics, it’s the perfect way to get the festive season started! After all Christmas just wouldn’t feel like Christmas without shouting “he’s behind you” to the pantomime dame and “Oh no she didn’t” to the dastardly villain.

This year’s production is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast written by local playwright JJ Christine. The show stars a host of wonderful actors from Chris O’Mara as the Beast & Prince, Claudia Todd as Bell, Simon Donaldson as Gastoff, Susan Coyle as Evil Mother & Mrs P, Arron Usher as Aunt Jolly,  and Charles ‘Chuck’ Denton as La Poo, all of whom do a terrific job of entertaining and engaging the family audience.

As always this panto adds it’s own special twist to the well known tale, making it a riveting watch. In this version, Bell and the Beast both love to dance, Gastoff has an mother issues and La Poo is an expert body popper! Who knew!

We absolutely loved the show and my two girls aged 5 and 8, were absolutely glued throughout. As always the Webster Memorial Theatre’s panto production was pitched absolutely perfectly for the family audience. With loads of laugh out load moments, bucketsful of high jinx, plenty of baddies to boo and a brilliant soundtrack to sing along to – this panto really does have it all!

Beauty and the Beast is the perfect family pantomime for Christmas and is not to be missed!

Beauty and the Beast is on at the Webster Memorial Theatre until the 24th of December. For further information about the production and to buy tickets, please visit: http://www.webstertheatre.co.uk/whatson.htm


*Disclaimer: I was very kindly provided with tickets to this performance in exchange for this fair and honest review.

The Nutcracker by Russian State Ballet – Preview

After being absolutely mesmerised by Swan Lake a few years ago, I’ve been desperate to see The Nutcracker. So, when I heard that the Nutcracker was coming to Dundee’s Caird Hall on Thursday the 9th of November – I knew I had to see it.

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a trip to your local theatre for a dazzling production of the most famous Ballet in the world, The Nutcracker. Based on The Nutcracker and the Mouse King written by E.T.A. Hoffmann, it tells the story of Marie, a rather sad little girl, whose godfather Drosselmeyer gives her a nutcracker doll as a present on Christmas Eve, which turns into a prince. When midnight strikes, the world turns all magical in the wintry glitter of Christmas Eve.

Toys come alive, the Mouse-king and his mouse-army battle with the Nutcracker Prince and we travel through the Land of Snow to an enchanted place where the magic really begins. Snow flurries, sweets, princes, magic, love, victories and defeats, and Tchaikovsky’s rousing score, are just some of the ingredients that will be brought together by this renowned Russian State Ballet. The Russian State Ballet and Opera House is a gem for the Russian cultural traditions, bringing as they do the passion and vibrancy of Russian character to this well-known ballet. It has built an international reputation for delivering performances of outstanding quality, and never fails to delight audiences.

I’ll be reviewing the production on here at the end of next week!

For further information on the Russian State Ballet, please click here: www.russian-state-ballet.co.uk

To book tickets for Thursday’s performance of The Nutcracker at Dundee’s Caird Hall, call: 01382 434940 or visit: https://www.dundeebox.co.uk

A Murder is Announced by Middle Ground Theatre Company

I’m quite the Agatha Christie fan girl these days. Not only have I devoured many of her books, I’ve also seen a lot of her work adapted into plays including The Mousetrap, And Then There Were None and Witness for the Prosecution. So, when I heard that A Murder Is Announced was visiting the Dundee Rep, I knew I’d have to see it.

The play begins with the residents of Chipping Cleghorn reading a peculiar advert in the local newspaper, which announces that a murder is to take place at Little Paddocks, a home that belongs to Letitia Blacklock. Curiosity gets the better of the group and they gather at the house, just as the lights go out and a shot is fired.

The lavish production by Middle Ground Theatre, which features Bergerac star Louise Jameson and ex-Eastenders star Janet Dibley, puts Miss Marple’s detective skills to the test as she works to unravel this complex mystery. As always Agatha Christie’s writing, stands up to the test of time and I was properly on the edge of my seat throughout this spellbinding production.

It may have been more than forty years since her death, but the Queen of Crime is still a masterful storyteller who is more than worthy of her crown. With a nostalgic set, a taut script and a fantastic cast, I would highly recommend seeing this production of A Murder is Announced.

I’m also pleased to report that I managed to guess the murderer, although to be fair, I did guess about five other characters first! But that’s the fun of a good old whodunnit isn’t it?

A Murder is Announced is currently touring the UK. For further information, please visit: http://www.middlegroundtheatre.co.uk

*Disclaimer – I was provided with two tickets to the performance in exchange for this fair and honest review.

Funbox Underwater Adventure

It doesn’t matter how many times I take my girls to see Funbox, it’s always an absolute pleasure. So when I found out that they were returning to Dundee, I knew we had to go.

This summer’s production, Underwater Adventure, sees the gang taking a voyage beneath the waves to the bottom of the ocean in a show that promised to be full of frolics and plenty of capers!! So how could we resist?

When we arrived at the theatre, it was already packed full of little mermaids and tiddlers who were hyped up and ready for the laughter and fun to begin. And they weren’t disappointed! As usual, the show included some new and very catchy tunes and some old classics such as My Father Went To Sea, Sea, Sea and The World Must Be Coming To An End – all of which were accompanied by some very funky dance moves which the children (and ahem… a few of the adults) copied with glee.

The show went down a treat with the whole audience adored Cha Cha Cha-ing along to the Funbox rhyme. As always the gang came offstage after the gig, ready to greet their fans. They are always so generous with their time posing for photographs and chatting with the kids, adding to the excitement of the day.

I can’t tell you how much I love taking my kids along to these shows. After seeing the Singing Kettle myself when I was a girl, I know how exciting a trip to the theatre can be for kids. When I take my girls along to see Funbox, I know that we’re not just having a good day out, we’re making memories that will last lifetime. So thank you Funbox. Keep up the good work!

Funbox are currently touring Scotland with their fabulously fun productions. For more information and to book tickets to see them live, visit: www.funbox.co.uk

*Disclaimer – I was provided with tickets to see Funbox in exchange for this fair and honest review.

Monstrous Bodies at Dundee Rep

Mary Shelley’s visit to Dundee in 1812, has always fascinated me. The author of Frankenstein, cited her time in the city as one of the inspirations behind her masterpiece and I’ve always wondered what exactly it was about Dundee and the Silvery Tay, that influenced her. So, when I heard that Monstrous Bodies, a play written and directed by Sandy Thomson of Poor Boy, was coming to Dundee Rep, I just knew I had to see it.

But the play is much more than just a biographical account of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin’s (Shelley’s maiden name) visit to Dundee. The 14 year olds story of living with the Baxter family, is told alongside modern day teenager Roxanne Walker’s, tale of woe. While Mary struggles to be taken seriously as a woman and a writer, Roxanne faces the humiliation of her classmates seeing her topless, after a boy she knows takes a photograph of her drunk at a party and shares it around the school.

The two storylines connect as Roxanne tries to build up the courage to face her peers again and deliver a talk on her idol, Mary Shelley. But that isn’t all they have in common. Both characters want to be treated as equals – but sadly respect for young women is hard to find in both 1812 and 2017. So sometimes you have to write your own story…

Monstrous Bodies was utterly captivating and inspiring to watch. Once again, the Dundee Ensemble cast were amazing with stand-out performances from Rebekah Lumsden as Roxanne, Eilidh McCormick as Mary, Elaine Stirrat as Liberty and Lorna Gold as Grissel. The play was supported by a host of young dancers who really brought the play to life and made the whole production vibrant and exciting to watch.

The stellar young cast, the realistic dialogue and the fact that audience members were invited to take images and videos at key points in the performance, makes this play current and attractive to young audiences as well as old.

I left the play feeling empowered with Mary Shelley’s words echoing around inside my head. “Beware: For I am fearless, and therefor powerful.”

What a message to be sending out to young women today.

Monstrous Bodies (Chasing Mary Shelley down Peep O’ Day Lane), is on at the Dundee Rep until Saturday the 6th of May.

For further information and to book tickets, visit: www.dundeerep.co.uk

*Disclaimer – I was provided with a ticket for this showing of the Monstrous Bodies in exchange for this fair and honest review.