The King’s Theatre’s panto offering this year is a riot of colour, fast-paced and full of infectious energy. Even before the show starts, the atmosphere in the auditorium is electric, and the barrage of fun doesn’t stop until the final number, which has the audience on its feet.

The stars of Cinderella are, as ever, the trio of Allan Stewart (Baroness McSquirrel), Andy Gray (as a Buttons rather getting on in years) and the towering Grant Stott as the dreadful ugly sister Gobina McPhlegm. It’s a sheer pleasure to watch them in action – there’s a remarkable chemistry between the three, full of ad libs and knowing looks, and they seem to be having as much fun as the audience is.

Stott’s ugly sister sidekick Hocktoo is the diminutive Ross Marshall, who’s reduced to a limited vocabulary of ‘aye’ and ‘no’ throughout – perhaps robbing the character of potential laughs. But it makes his eventual revenge on his sibling all the more delicious.

Joanne Thomson and Paul Leubke are suitably starry-eyed as Cinders and the Prince, and they sing well, too. Leubke’s flashing of his six-pack early on threatened to bring the house down. David Haydn as the Prince’s retainer Dandini was strangely open about his liking for ‘big burds’ – he quickly fell for the sadistic charms of Gobina. Katy Heavens is a sweet but streetwise fairy.

It’s a shame that the sound wasn’t always as clear as it could have been, so that song lyrics were sometimes lost behind the music – played live by an able band led by Richard Anderson. The sets (designed by Hugh Durrant) and lighting (Chris Wilcox) are worth the visit on their own – they’re spectacular, detailed, and make full use of all the historic auditorium has to offer.

Just two pieces of advice. If you’re sitting in a box, you might get a visitor. And if you’re late, there could be some special entertainment just for you.

Cinderella continues at the King’s Theatre until 22 January



  1. Quite the biggest and best panto production at the Kings yet, worthy of a West End stage. Gray and Stewart are a defiance of their years, while Stott’s undying devotion to Hibernian FC brings the usual chorus of adulation and acrimony in equal, good natured measure. Oh yes it does.

  2. Hmmm… Not quite with you here. Agreed, Stott completely stole the show – a towering performance in every way! Poor old Andy Gray did very well with the thin material he was given. Sadly, Stewart is past it – you could tick off the tired routines as the show progressed : talking slippers – yawn! Yet another variation on his obscene fixation with breasts. ZZzzz… It’s no wonder they have put Stott in a frock this year – time for a change at the top, methinks… Oh – and what was the point of the helicopter?!

  3. I have just watched the Christmas Eve matinee performance and don’t agree with Stephen G’s opinion on Allan Stewart as Baroness McSquirrel – I thought he was fantastic in the role and his timing is spot on, a total professional and his experience speaks volumes. I do agree about the helicopter although I thought that Virgin and Easy were hilarious! My five-year-old granddaughter was initially rather frightened about the possibility of being shot by Gobina McPhlegm but enjoyed the panto once she realised that it wasn’t REALLY going to happen. The talking slippers went down a treat as did the rest of the performance. The Prince’s six-pack deserves a special mention as does the entire cast!
    Roll on next year.

  4. The point of the helicopter was simply “Wow!”, spectacle, surprise! And, indeed, people all around me, including myself, gasped in wonderment.

    I travelled up from London especially to see this production and it was splendid. Wonderfully down-to-earth, wonderfully Scottish.

    The only negative aspect were the rather awful, tuneless, pop-songs. If we had to be subjected to them then the instruments should have been toned right down so that we could have made out the lyrics.

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