Pantomime time is here again, the time when terrible puns proliferate. My first of the season was Beowulf
, an original pantomime devised for the annual Charles Court Opera Company in which Beowulf, the hero, and his sidekick, Wiglaff, have to spend the night together in a cheap hastily acquired tent while hunting Grendel, the monster threatening the land.
It is cold and dark and Beowulf, as they disappear inside, announces: 'Now is the winter of our discount tent'. In the scale of groan-making puns, that surely ranks high. When they emerge next morning wrapped in a duvet, a crucial plot point has also been resolved. It is a very modern pantomime.
I followed that with Peter Duncan who, as well as being a Tardis traveller in the very first Doctor Who,
also spent 11 years on Blue Peter
. He made his successful stage debut in skirts just before the pandemic and then carried on during it by filming his next one, Jack in the Beanstalk
, in his back garden for streaming online. That went well and now Cinderalla
, his latest one, could be at a cinema near you. If a live alternative is not available, it could fill the gap in the festive season.
These days, however, live theatre needs all the support it can get. Which brings me to A Christmas Carol
. I do not wish to see it ever again although I would make an exeption for the film version with Alastair Sim. Otherwise, I have, as they say, had Dickens up to here.
The most unsuitable Scrooge ever was Tommy Steele who starred in a musical version and, his trademark being he is someone audiences love, managed to make Scrooge positively adorable while he flashed his other trademark, impeccable white teeth, at the auditorium. As usual, however, versions of A Christmas Carol
are on all over the land. Bah humbug to them all!
In her otherwise excellent review of the new series of Shetland
, which fortunately we are able to watch here across the Pond on BritBox, Marcy Leavitt Bourne
seems to have missed a crucial element in the first episode. Perhaps she was overwhelmed by the performance of the 'charismatic' Douglas 'the weather in Greenock is pish' Henshall to have noticed the appearance of a legendary figure: Habbie Simpson. Yes! For it was he, the legendary piper in his niche in the Steeple Building at Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire – a wee bit far away from Shetland but the weather seemed to be better than in Greenock that day!
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