Magical panto Beauty and the Beast hits the Kirkcaldy stage

Some of the cast members in Beauty and the Beast.
Some of the cast members in Beauty and the Beast.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder for members of Imagine Theatre as they get ready to bring the magical tale of Beauty and the Beast to life on stage in Kirkcaldy.

This year’s pantomime at the Adam Smith Theatre sees a variety of new and old faces treading the boards for the annual festive production.

Belle and Prince Proudfoot

Belle and Prince Proudfoot

The cast includes Greg Powrie, who returns to play Dame Kimmy Shoo McKlinkie, and Kim Shepherd stars as The Enchantress.

They are joined by Colin Little (Beast/Prince Proudfoot) Jillian Cunningham (Belle Beauty); Adrian MacDonald is the hilarious Cameron McKlinkie; David Rankine plays the odious Balloch and James Barrie stars as Beauty’s father Hugh.

Greg told the Press about his role.

“I play Dame Kimmy Shoo McKlinkie who is a beautician and runs a small beauty salon,” he said.

“Her mission in life is to make the people and world around her a more beautiful place. I have a lovely wee song with the kids called Keep Young and Beautiful.

“The scene I enjoy the most is the slosh scene and it involves a victim – I mean, member of the audience 
coming on stage to take part. It is the messiest scene but it is a lot of fun!”

He continued: “Appearing at the Adam Smith is something of a homecoming because 38 years ago I was there in a Scottish Youth Theatre production called What A Way to Run a Revolution. It was my first real taste of theatre – it is great to be back again.”

The dame is one of the most iconic roles in pantomime and Greg, who has been starring in panto for two decades, said he really enjoys it.

“There is a curious amnesia that comes with playing the dame. It is utterly exhausting, and every year I sort of forget that!

“A dame is only as good as his company, and I’ve been very lucky in that respect. I do enjoy the freedom that can go with the part, and probably enjoy it most when the unexpected happens.

“Having licence to interact with the audience is, of course, the best bit, but it always comes with a risk; you have to think fast and be ready to seize any opportunity.”

David Rankine stars as the baddie, Balloch (people will recognise this being the character of Gaston in the Disney film).

He said: “Balloch is extremely full of himself, very arrogant and vain.

“He starts off being ridiculous but as the panto goes on he becomes the main baddie and he ends up trying to kill the Beast. He becomes quite nasty.

“My favourite scenes are singing The Glory of Me and I also have some good scenes with Jim, the dame and Cameron the dafty. I really like doing the funny stuff.”

He continued: “I love panto. Beauty and the Beast is a great show with a good message. We also have a great cast and crew.”

James Barrie is playing the role of Hugh, Belle’s father.

He said: “He is very protective of his daughter. Although he come across as a bumbling old man, he is involved in a lot of the drama with the Beast. He is the first one from the village to come across him – this is where the drama starts and where the story takes off.

“I also get to sing a beautiful duet with Belle and there is a real mix of emotions which you don’t get in a lot of pantos.”

James is a seasoned panto performer having starred in festive shows since the 1980s, although he usually plays a different role.

“I normally play the dame but I am always delighted to be in panto,” he said.

“I love it, it is such a lot of fun. The storyline is much the same as the film except for the song and name changes. We also have a lot of bad jokes and there are some local references and we have had some inspiration walking around Kirkcaldy – the town is a character as well.

“We don’t mention Kirkcaldy by name but there are lots of references which locals will get straight away – for example we have lots of jokes about seagulls.”

Adrian MacDonald will be appearing in his first pantomime as Cameron McKlinkie.

He said: “Cameron is a bit wishy-washy and a bit ditsy. He helps his mum (dame Kimmy) in the beauty parlour and he is struggling to find himself some pals.

“I have appeared in quite a few children’s shows but I have never done panto before so I am very excited.”

Meanwhile, Fifer Kim Shepherd stars as The Enchantress who has the all-seeing eye over everything and looks out for Belle.

Kim, who hails from Dunfermline, said: “The Enchantress casts a spell over the Prince because she is trying to teach him a lesson.

She wants to guide Belle in the right way and point her towards the Beast.

“The Enchantress has a bigger role in the pantomime than she does in the Disney film.

“She narrates the story at a couple of points, particularly when time has passed, so she helps the audience to catch up.”

She said her favourite part of the panto is the dinner scene with Belle and the Beast: “It is really pretty and the end of Act One is also really good. I also really like the song at the end of act one, it is a really powerful number.

“This will be my third panto at the Adam Smith Theatre and my seventh or eighth panto overall.”

She added: “I stay in Dunfermline so it feels like coming home and the Fife audiences are always very warm and up for a good time.”

○‘Beauty and the Beast’ runs from this Saturday until Saturday, January 5, 2019. For tickets visit www.onfife.com