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.

Funbox Santa’s Sleepover show – review

The FunBox - Santa's Sleepover Show 2015 Picture by John Young © www.youngmedia.co.uk 2015

Picture by John Young © www.youngmedia.co.uk 2015

As I drove to Funbox’s new show, Santa’s Sleepover, with my two over excited kids in the back, I couldn’t help but feel slightly apprehensive. This was the first time we would see the threesome as Funbox after years of watching The Singing Kettle. Like so many other families, we went to see the Kettle every time they visited our city. The kids loved them, I loved them! But would we still love them as Funbox? That was the big question….

As soon as the dynamic trio hit the stage, I knew that I was not going to be disappointed. Framed by their amazingly bold and colourful set, Funbox stormed the stage with enough energy to fill ten arenas. They immediately had the audience it the palm of their hand, charming them with their brand spanking new Christmas songs while we waited for Santa to come.

By the time the gang hit their first Funbox rhyme – “You and me, turn the key, open the lock to the Funbox, cha, cha, cha, cha” the audience were belting it out so loudly, it was obvious that no one was still yearning after The Singing Kettle. Especially not me.

With all of the brilliant gags, songs and irresistible dance moves on the go, Funbox felt every bit as special as watching The Singing Kettle, in fact if anything they had an edge with their offering having that bit of extra zing. Kevin, Anya and Gary’s enthusiasm is bountiful as well as catching and you can just tell how much they love performing. While Bonzo and old Scottish favourites like “Ma, Ma, will you buy me a banana” are still very much part of the set, the introduction of the Funsters and Funbox’s very own brand of hilarious catchy songs, make them feel very fresh and relevant.

By the time we left, my tiny two were grinning from ear to ear and full of festive cheer. They spent the drive back planning what they will wear to Funbox’s next Superheroes show which is touring next year! Funbox, you certainly won us over. We’ll be seeing you real soon x

Funbox’s Christmas show, Santa’s Sleepover is currently touring Scotland. Visit their website: https://www.funbox.co.uk for details.
*Disclaimer: We were given four free tickets in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Navi – King of Pop Tour

navi-pic-1024x577My husband and I feel that it is our duty to introduce our kids to the retro music that we adored as children. The result is that our girls love a real mix of music, from Queen and Madness to Cyndi Lauper and the Grease soundtrack! But out of all the music that we’ve introduced them to, their absolute favourite is Michael Jackson.

With their black hats and their YouTube playlist on repeat, my girls love practicing the dance moves to Michael’s music videos. My three year old even has her very own rendition of “Anna are okay” (as she calls it), complete with forward and backwards lean!

So when we heard that Navi was coming to Dundee’s Whitehall Theatre with his show King of Pop we knew that we had to take them along and treat them to their very first pop concert.

As soon as Navi stepped on the stage, it was clear that he wasn’t just any old Michael Jackson impersonator. His voice is so like MJ’s and his dance moves are so spot on, that I had to remind myself repeatedly that he was not the real deal. Witty and charming, Navi had the audience in the palm of his hand and when he stepped out into the crowd to perform one of the songs, the crowd went absolutely ballistic for him.

From Thriller and Beat It to Jackson 5’s I Want You Back and Can you Feel it – all of the classics were there and performed to perfection. What impressed me the most was Navi’s obvious love of MJ and his devotion to his fans. Near the end of the set he told them, “We’re here to celebrate the life of Michael Jackson” before promising that he would never dare try to replace him.

We left, surrounded by a sea of black hats and white gloves, humming Michael’s back catalogue each of us raving about the incredible show. Seeing Navi live has only intensified our girls’ love of Michael Jackson and his music. Navi’s tribute is a very worthy one, and as he continues to tour the world, bringing joy to MJ’s fans young and old, he’s keeping the spirit of Michael and his music very much alive.

Find out more about Navi and his King of Pop tour here: www.kingofpop.co.uk

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

Hairy Maclary and friends visit Dundee

hairy-maclary-1024x768“Out of the gate and off for a walk went Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy….” is how my three year old girl’s favourite bedtime story begins. Hairy Maclary and his chums are hard not to love. Since we discovered the book a few years ago every dog we meet is categorised by a character from the book. Is that doggy more of a Bitzer Maloney (all skinny or bony) or a Hercules Morse (as big as a horse)? That Schnitzel von Krumm is my own personal fave!

The series of books are so filled with fun and frolics that they real are gorgeous to read. In fact so gorgeous that it’s fair to say that I also count myself as a bit of a fan!

So imagine our excitement when we found out that The Hairy Maclary and Friends Show is touring and coming to the Gardyne Theatre in Dundee, not far from us! Delighted!

For more details about the Dundee show on Wednesday the 14th of October or to find details about the other shows in the tour, visit: www.hairymaclaryshow.co.uk