Alhambra Panto: a vibrant version of a timeless classic in Beauty & The Beast

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You can tell a lot about the quality of a panto by the way the children react.

If they are on the edge of their seats and shouting themselves hoarse, then you are on to a winner.

Beauty And The Beast ticks all the boxes at the Alhambra Theatre in Dunfermline as it breathes new, energetic life into the classic Christmas tale.

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The wee girl across the aisle from our seats followed the choreography for every dance and was in and out of he sat all night long - completely captivated by the sights and sounds on stage.

Ian 'Sheepie' Smith on stage at the AlhambraIan 'Sheepie' Smith on stage at the Alhambra
Ian 'Sheepie' Smith on stage at the Alhambra

Ian ‘Sheepie’ Smith makes a welcome return for a second season at the Alhambra, and he wastes no time building up a great rapport with the audience as Danny Doughnut, quickly getting his catchphrase song lodged in everyone’s minds.

He’s at the heart of much of the panto’s comedy with daft gags and sketches, but the jokes are shared across the cast.

Beauty, played by Abbie Watson, is given a much stronger role than the traditional love interest of the Prince/Beast (Ross Dillon) - ditto, Fairy Fae Fife (Anya Scott-Rodgers), whose wings flutter with some gallus gags as well as the obligatory rhyming couplets.

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Marcel (Ian Archdeacon) makes a great baddie while Samuel Ward-Smith is a fine comedy sidekick as Gormless, and together they milked the boos for all they were worth.

Kevin MacLeod channels his inner Doc from Back To The Future as the mad professor, and is integral to the slapstick as well as the most hectic rendition of ‘12 Days Of Christmas’ you’ll ever see.

The panto makes sure to deliver all the element you expect, from shout outs to sing-songs and some audience participation, and it skittles along with great pace and energy from the very start.

The seven-strong cast are well supported by eight dancers who are also brought into the scenes, making this a smashing night out, on stage and off.

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Pantos remain a huge part of a Scottish Christmas. Make sure this vibrant version of a timeless classic is in your itinerary.

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