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LARA CROFT FINALLY TAKES TO THE STAGE
Copyright 2001 www.variety.com

[ December 20th 2001 ]

We have had media stars and magical experiments, brilliant new scripts and Elaine C Smith impersonating Lara Croft; but if a truly traditional panto is your Christmas tipple, then Perth Theatre is the only place for you this festive season.

Two dames, two gorgeous long-legged principal boys, a fabulous fairy godmother and a pair of adorable white Shetland ponies pulling a glittering pumpkin coach: Cinderella is the panto of pantos, and Perth's production this year gives it the full traditional treatment.

There are tiny dancers from the local ballet schools, Ugly Sisters called Verruca and Bunion in twinkling tartan frills, a naughty song-sheet song about a "thingmy", and enough romance and dance and terrible old jokes to have this lovely little Edwardian theatre rocking on its round foundations. As for the audience, only at the King's in Edinburgh will you find a crowd more eager to party, in the best variety style.

It is not that Michael Winter's production is perfect. The script - by Winter himself with Ugly Sister Greg Powrie - is adequate but misses a few narrative tricks. The twin dames, Greg Powrie and Alan McPherson, are both novices when it comes to stand-up comedy and audience interaction, and some of the casting further down the line is insipid at best. But Samantha Saunders makes an immensely elegant Prince Charming, well supported by Vanessa Clarke's Dandini; Derek McGhie's tentative Buttons is hugely appealing and Kareena Dainty's Cinderella is sweet.

Although Powrie and McPherson have some way to go to perfect their double-act, at their best they show a new generation of Scottish performers carrying the old tradition powerfully into the future. I could almost feel the ghost of that late, great Perth panto dame, Walter Carr, beaming down from the gods.

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Lara Croft and Tomb Raider are trademarks of Square Enix Ltd.
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