Dick Whittington, a pantomime not often performed in Scotland, is given an Aberdonian twist by writer Alan McHugh. The production opens with a newsreel from former first minister Alex Salmond, helping set Dick McWhittington firmly on Scottish soil.
This is the eighth year comedy trio Elaine C Smith, Alan McHugh and Jordan Young have performed together. Once again, they make good use of the local dialect and place names, but McHugh and Young’s comic sketches narrowly miss the mark, lacking their usual charm and ad-lib antics. There is more emphasis on the double entendre than the slapstick that appeals to the younger audience members.
There is a nod to the satirical tradition of pantomime with Smith’s hilarious Donald Trump spoof, and, keeping it contemporary, her Aberdonian Adele is a real crowd-pleaser.
Ashley Emerson as Jack and Maggie Lynne as Ailish add a touch of romance and King Rat is performed with sufficient menace by John Jack. Credit must go to the tight, well-choreographed ensemble that keeps this somewhat episodic production flowing, supporting the cast with high-energy dance numbers and an array of popular, contemporary musical numbers.
The costumes of McHugh’s dame are more lurid, lavish and numerous than previous years, and the flying car closing the first half adds a real wow-factor.
This production is all-singing and all-dancing but the humour fails to pack the punch that audiences have come to expect from this comic trio.