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Review(s): Panto!!!

Do you like pantomimes? (Oh yes you do!) Are you one of the age demographics that can go to a pantomime without feeling slightly awkward i.e. a small child or their parents or grandparents? (Oh no you aren’t (probably)!) Well imagine for a moment a pantomime for students by students, starring most of the best actors in St Andrews (and therefore basically the world), and raising money for charity! This was such a good idea that it actually sold out of its (free) tickets, but there were a fair amount of empty seats so clearly some people didn’t turn up and probably therefore had a very unslay evening, because I certainly didn’t – this panto slayed, werked, and maybe even yass queened.

The writer, co-director, narrator, and general force behind this whole thing is Mackenzie Galbraith, wearing

his trademark extremely tight trousers. The script had some really great jokes and I loved the overall production so big kudos to Mackenzie and other co-director Louise Anderbjork, even if I wasn’t focussing on Mackenzie’s face most of the time when he was talking. Kudos also to technician Isy Platt, who had some more subtle, but still very funny moments. The whole thing felt playful and funny and interactive, fourth-wall-breaking and slightly improvised, just like a pantomime should be, and of course everything feels better when you’re shouting along in an audience, even if you’re legally an adult. 

A pantomime should also have copious amounts of drag, and this one really delivers. There’s Buster van der Geest’s terrifyingly falsetto Wicked Stepmother, in equally terrifying wig and makeup, contrasted against the deliciously camp, high-heel-booted woman of many faces, the Fairy Godmother played by Callum Wardman-Browne. It actually feels odd when people aren’t in drag, like when Aubrey McCance’s extremely long-suffering Baron Hardup is between Hannah Savage and India Kolb’s constantly flexing casanovas and flat-cap-wearer extraordinaires Lords Gorgeous and Sweetheart (Bosh! Ladies!), and the swooning, preening, and occasionally yelling aggressively ugly stepsisters Chlamydia and Rubella played by Freddie Lawson and Max Fryer. There’s only one flaw that I could spot with these two’s, as well as Buster and Callum’s performances – no fake boobs! They could have just stuffed a few socks in there or something and it would’ve been fine, but no. I bet they didn’t even tuck under their dresses. 

Producer Amelia Stokeld heroically (and incredibly successfully with only six hours practice) stepped in as the no-nonsense Cinderella for Margot Pue – she ruthlessly ignores not only Dylan Swain’s extremely energetic (and incredibly strong arm muscles like wow) rat butler Buttons’ purehearted love for her, but also her poor father as well. For mysterious and possibly magical reasons, Understudy Marcus Judd was not available and therefore actually doesn’t appear in the play at all not one bit. Chasing after Cinderella’s feet is man-of-the-people-but-maybe-not-really Prince Charming, played by Laura Bennie. The power of the Prince’s authority is so great that it causes astonishing spinal contortions in Piper Richardson’s Squire, but Laura is so princely that she manages to keep her spine in roughly the same shape throughout. That only leaves one actor, Fiona Lock, who unfortunately had to be cut for time reasons. Oh well.

It’s probably impossible to convey the experience of watching this in review form – the really great thing about pantos is feeling like you’re participating and laughing along as an audience member – so your only option is to go watch it. It’s sold out, but if you don’t have a ticket you can go along and probably get one of the no-shows’ seats (and donate some money to charity!). I highly recommend you do. This was an extremely fun evening and really felt like something special.


other erin (she/her)

Vibrating from caffeine, exhausted from work, enthralled by the spirit of charity - a February panto? Let’s FUCKING GO!

Now, a quick disclaimer: I know and would even go so far as to pay the complement of calling the writer a friend, so I may be biassed. But, also, this a 100% for-charity production so like how much cosmic damage would it do the soul to over-sell it?

Cinderelly, cinderelly! A Cinderella pantomime revisits the St Andrews Stage two months later in a charity fundraiser for Rett UK (donate here: )! This time it's got no budget, a multitude of choice dresses, and the contributions of St Andrews students! Hurrah! Hurrah!

Do you like the quick drag mini challenges on RuPaul’s Drag Race? Have you wanted to see a sober man in stripper heels? Has the statement “oh, no he doesn’t” ever made you wanna say “oh, yes he does”? Then, boy, do I have the show for you!

Cinderella was a show that has been put up in two weeks, and though it's no Hamlet it isn't even remotely trying to be. It’s fully aware of its shortcomings and in fact revels in it. Why have some poor hobbyist attempt a horse puppet when you can make four full time students at a top university hop about while whinnying? Why a cool change of pre-ball to post-ball Cinderella when you can hold up a bed sheet? Why a makeup artist when you can have men who don’t know the difference between a skin tint and a foundation smear eyeliner and eyeshadow on with the precision and presentation of a four year old gone rogue.

We are lead through the show by writer, narrator, director Mackenzie Galbraith in THE Mermaids arm chair, through a funky, fun, and fast-paced Cinderella plot. Our wistful little swot Prince Charming (Laura Bennie) wants a girl who sees him for the guy he is, not his crown… supposedly, and while cosplaying poor he comes across Cinderella (performed by Amelia Stokeld and Marcus Judd on the first night) who’s, like, so dreamy that they fall instantly in love, much to the sadness of mouseboy Buttons (Dylan Swain).

Other than the leads, who did fabulously, everyone had their moment to shine. A crowd favourite was India Kolb and Hannah Savage’s pair of tweed wearing pricks Lord Sweetheart and Lord Gorgeous. Buster van Der Geest’s villainous step mother, accompanied by her daughters Chlamydia and Rubella (Freddie Lawson and Max Fryer, respectively) ear-piercingly repulsive, and Fiona Lock’s dejected little actor wannabe was fun. It would be a crime to not praise the brilliant Amelia Stokeld for her performance as the titular Cinderella, had I not been told it was a last minute step in after the Falling Ill of Margot Pue (hope you get well soon babes x) five hours before the show I wouldn’t have noticed - she possesses a level of memorisation and acting skill that borders on witchcraft. Piper Richardson’s shaky little squire boy was also a personal favourite, possessing a level of skittishness and nicotine addiction that felt only comparable to steps outside the library during exam season.

What was great was how much fun everyone seemed to be having, at times actors were barely able to stop themselves from laughing - such as the wondrous waltz of Laura Bennie and Marcus Judd, in which you could map across their faces all of their life choices leading to this silly little moment, and that was sweet. It's always nice when people seem to actually really enjoy the shows they do.

Anyways, it sold out tomorrow, but I can imagine if you show up tomorrow night with a donation and good spirits they could squeeze you in where people have failed to show up. And you should, or you're a bad person who hates charity.

By Kilda


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