The Brunton‘s 2017 pantomime production, Beauty and the Beast, puts a Scottish twist on a beloved fairytale. Set in Musselburgh, it tells the story of Prince Hamish and his loyal servant Fraser, both of whom are transformed by the wicked witch Mordina when Hamish turns her down.
It’s a fun take on a classic, and is guaranteed to be a big hit with any children watching. There’s plenty of shouting and sing-a-longs, as well as fun characters which quickly capture their imagination. The whole cast knows how to engage the kids and avoid restlessness, even in the more plot-heavy scenes. Their singing talent is also obvious when belting out pop songs (although this is somewhat drowned out by the backing tracks). There are some very nice moments which tick all of the pantomime boxes, such as a singalong at the end and plenty of booing and hissing. Finally, audience participation is at the right level – not tedious, but definitely enough to keep the kids enthusiastic (giant toothbrush, anyone)?
On the flip side, there’s not much for the adults in the audience. While pantomimes are known for their innuendos and political jokes that go over the kids’ heads, there isn’t much of that to be found here – it errs on the side of slapstick instead, which is fine for the first act, but can get a little wearing by the second. Furthermore, there are a couple of unnecessary scenes that could be cut for the sake of pacing. Brevity is key with an audience primarily comprised of under 1os, and constant set changes don’t really add another dimension to the plot or comedy.
It may not cater to the whole family, but Beauty and the Beast does fulfil the most important aspect of a pantomime – it keeps kids entertained and laughing throughout.