The Pie-Eyed Piper of Hamilton
Unseasonal panto, not for children
This article is from 2015.
Dave Anderson and Gary McNair 's summer panto is a satire loosely based on children's morality tale The Pied Piper Of Hamelin, giving a drunk’s eye view of austerity culture. The inimitable Jimmy Chisholm plays a priapic English mayor with floppy blond tresses and almost obscene cycling shorts, prone to making faux pas – any resemblance to Boris is, of course, hugely intentional – as he contemplates getting into metaphorical bed with the incomprehensible Scots. Cue his band of ladies, Goldilocks (Kirstin Mclean channelling the SNP's whip-smart Mhairi Black) and blootered gender-bending Piper in a trackie (Annie Grace). But what can be done about the infestation of rats in the city? The mayor can smell a photo op.
The storyline may wander off into an incoherent, Buckfast-fuelled frenzy, but what it lacks in narrative discipline, is made up for by a particularly sassy Paul James Corrigan, a double threat as Ma, a blowsy Weegie dame with sailor's arms, and the mayor's well-upholstered Botoxed Beautiful Daughter, a vision in an orange body-con who twerks like Miley Cyrus and swears like Joe Pesci. There are some very fine musical numbers: ‘Five More Years’ is a sprightly opener and ‘Rats!Rats!Rats!’ is verbally dexterous, as though Kate Tempest rewrote Ian Dury's ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful’ in ironic riposte to tabloid immigration panic.
Jonathan Scott's sliding set is functional and amusing, particularly a none-too-flattering representation of the town of Hamilton: 'Trumpton created from fag packets', as it's scathingly described, and of course, there are nice one-liners, naughty puns and obligatory digs at other traditional pantomime venues (and Wee Jimmy Krankie) but at times it does feel a little bit safe. Still, Corrigan and Grace's turns, in particular, make it well worth a punt.
Assembly George Square Studios, 623 3030, until 31 Aug (not 17, 24), 6.40pm, £13–£14.