First published in The Times, Saturday December 24 2022
This is the legendary King’s panto, but not as we know it. We’re definitely not in Kansas, or even at the King’s theatre, currently undergoing refurbishment. Allan Stewart, in his annual outing as the dame, Nurse May, has to stop for a breather as he scurries across the stage. “If this were the King’s I’d be there by now,” he pants.
As the backdrop is bigger, so elements of the show have swollen to epic proportions, not least when it comes to the stage effects. Jordan Young, playing Muddles, the palace jester, closes the first act with a sleigh ride that soars above the stalls. An enormous dragon, half the size of the auditorium, also puts in a brief appearance.
Continue reading “Pantomime review: Snow White – Festival Theatre, Edinburgh”
First published in The Times, Wednesday December 8 2021
A palpable sense of excitement is in the air as the legendary King’s pantomime returns following a two-year absence. Yet this production of Sleeping Beauty also comes with a bittersweet edge. A notable absence from the cast list is Andy Gray – for 20 years one of the stars of the show alongside Allan Stewart and Grant Stott – who died earlier this year.
Continue reading “Panto review: Sleeping Beauty – King’s Theatre, Edinburgh”
First published in The Times, Tuesday December 10 2019
Excitement levels in the auditorium at this year’s King’s pantomime are even higher than usual. The first reason is the return of Andy Gray, one third of the regular performing team alongside Allan Stewart and Grant Stott, who missed last year’s show due to illness. When he appears onstage and launches into his catchphrase (“I’ve no been very well…”) the applause is long and heartfelt.
Continue reading “Review: Goldilocks and the Three Bears – King’s Theatre, Edinburgh”
First published in The Times, Friday December 15 2017
Some people know each other so well they finish each other’s sentences. This is literally true of the entertainers Allan Stewart, Andy Gray and Grant Stott, the trio that has been at the heart of the King’s Theatre’s annual pantomime for the past 13 years. Whenever one of them struggles to spit out his lines, usually due to cracking up with laughter, the other two are on hand to clear up the verbal clutter – or simply exacerbate the sense of anarchy.
Continue reading “Review: Cinderella – King’s Theatre, Edinburgh”
First published in The Times, Wednesday August 23 2017
Andy Gray and Grant Stott are best known as two-thirds of the comedy team that has made the pantomime at Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre such a winner (the other point of the performing triangle being the entertainer Allan Stewart). In recent years, they have branched out into “straight” theatre, appearing in sold-out plays at the fringe and on tour. Their show, Kiss Me, Honey, Honey!, proved such a hit in 2013 that it returned to the festival the following August.
Continue reading “Review: Double Feature – Gilded Balloon at Rose Theatre, Edinburgh”
First published in The Times, Thursday March 17 2016
Over the past decade the comedy performers Allan Stewart, Andy Gray and Grant Stott have developed a hugely successful partnership as mainstays of the annual pantomime at Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre. The trio’s infectious performing chemistry is once again on display in this “straight” comedy, written by Ed Curtis in collaboration with Stewart and currently on tour.
Continue reading “Review: Canned Laughter – Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy”
First published in The Times, Tuesday January 5 2016
The pantomime at King’s, Edinburgh, has long acquired the status of venerable institution, running to more than 80 performances annually and featuring a triumvirate of stars – Allan Stewart, Andy Gray and Grant Stott – who have appeared together on and off for the past 17 years. Stewart, a variety performer and much-loved dame since 1997, has acknowledged that his character stays more or less the same no matter the script. Certainly, the actor has been performing in the same lavender bouffant wig for at least a decade.
Continue reading “Review: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – King’s Theatre, Edinburgh”