Snow White

Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock

Mary Brennan, four stars

Okey-dokey, let’s cut to the chase. There are no 3D frighteners wheeching towards the Beacon audience. No animatronics, no inflatable monsters, no video cameras trained on embarrassed folk in the stalls. Instead, what you get is a first-rate, full-on traditional panto where the talent on-stage delivers genial tomfoolery, frisky ribald comedy, great singing and – wait for it – gooey, messy slapstick. Ya belter! as the Dame would say – indeed it is, and so is she.

Nurse Mattie McBatty (Jimmy Chisholm) is one of those twinkly, mischievous dames who can come over all perjink before delivering a frisky-risque punchline – usually heading in the direction of Mark Cox’s Duke of Argyle, her intended hot squeeze. Chisholm and Cox are already sparking brilliantly off each other, getting plenty of comic juice out of Alan McHugh’s script. As the run progresses, they’ll doubtless get up to more (unscripted) funny business simply because they understand how to riff on the ambiguities of their romance.

Add in the daft and hapless jester, Muddles (Lee Samuel) and you’re laughing, oh yes you are! Snow White (Stephanie Falls) and Prince Calum (Blair Robertson) are a well-matched pair of love birds: he has a bit of swagger, she’s sweet but not saccharin and they sing well together, too. No wonder Queen Sadista is envious, prone to towering rages that Jane McCarry vents with powerful, snarly menace. Luckily Snow White’s little guardians are on hand. Heigh ho! the Strudel team of local children get to work - in masks and with voiced-over dialogue – as the seven dwarves, fitting their actions deftly to the pre-recorded words. There is one special effect, a projected magic mirror – if you asked, it would say this panto is one of the fairest around.