As the yuletide season has quietly crept up on us, its festive joy and cheer spills onto Scottish stages with an abundance of glitter, song and goodwill. The Lyceum’s latest offering of Cinderella directed by Mark Thomson should tick all the boxes, but something’s fundamentally wrong with Johnny McKnight’s text, as Cinders deals with magic trees, dead mothers and a mysteriously charged stepmother. If this is a sign of pantos to come, I’d rather have a lump of coal.
The Lyceum’s Christmas shows notoriously tread the fine line between fairytale and pantomime, with a long line of predecessors successfully weaving the two genres together. They create magical festive experiences which are both entertaining and thought provoking. But this time it doesn’t quite work. The brash energy screams panto, yet the narrative steers towards a more serious message that it ultimately fails to capture and deliver. McKnight’s take on the traditional fable is shamefully self-aware and contemporary with references to the power of reality TV and fake tan. Though we’ve come to expect these in panto, it’s notably unbalanced here. Sadly, it tells a weak story that fails to engage its audience no matter what age they are.