Pantomime: Alice in Weegieland, Tron, Glasgow

Mary Brennan, four stars

HIGH camp and low villainy in equal measures and slinky-glam body-con costumes – yes, it’s Weegieland’s Queen of Hearts, folks. Alice may have her name in the title, but it’s this Queen (Darren Brownlie, going his diva-dinger) who wants to be the leading lady in every Weegie life, including her son’s – otherwise it’s off with their heads...Yikes! What has hapless Alice got herself into? Well, not exactly the Wonderland of Lewis Carroll’s fantasising. Writer Johnny McKnight and director/designer Kenny Miller have again gone an extra tongue-in-cheek mile for the Tron, tweaking panto traditions into a left-field take on a well-loved children’s classic.

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Alice (Daisy Ann Fletcher) is a bit of a hopeless case – a loser who can’t pass her ballet exam, and has no friends except Dinah her cat. There’s no love, imagination or bravery in this lacklustre lass until that ‘ring-a-ding-ting-ching etc’ of true love gets her into a hole and presto! she’s in Weegieland, where animals talk in rapid Glesca’ patter, far-fetched puns and topical punch-lines.

The wandering plot makes an occasional appearance on-stage, without getting in the way of the cleverly daft repartee or the antics of the cast. Mighty respect to Julie Wilson Nimmo, as a (supposedly) clairvoyant Caterpillar for managing both McKnight’s wordplay and Miller’s many-legged costume with hilarious effect. Jo Freer’s Dormouse is another delight, jittering in a swanky fur coat and sharp chat. It’s love, however, that really makes the action go round. Alice’s squeeze – Scott Fletcher’s smoothie poseur of a Knave – defies his aff-her-heid Mother, the couple’s smoochy duet and snog are accomplished and Dinah (Lauren Ellis-Steele) is the cat’s meow when she seals the happy ending with All I Want For Christmas Is You…