On day 8 of Blogmas it’s time to re-live some Christmas memories as I take you to the panto and trust me Glasgow panto’s are always slightly edgy and cater for both the young and those of us who wish we were.
Over the years I’ve been to panto’s at four different venues and all have had totally unique atmospheres. The most glamorous pantomime in Glasgow is always staged at the Kings Theatre. This for most of us is our first experience of panto and it’s the one your mum will like. This is because the Kings is a wee bit safer than other panto’s and the jokes tend to be a bit less risqué but there can be no disputing the fact there is a magic about this magnificent venue and they really know how to put on an excellent show. Amongst those I’ve seen perform in panto in the Kings are the late and yes I will say great Gerard Kelly, Elaine C Smith, Gregor Fisher, The Krankies, Dorothy Paul, and Ricki Fulton. This was the place where biggest names in Scottish theatre strutted their Christmas stuff and we lapped it up every year.
As for other panto The Tron theatre which is a venue I love tends to make their Panto a wee bit different from the more traditional style and I think more suitable to an adult audience. I have to say I am an unashamed fan of this style of show and it’s pretty popular with workers on Christmas night’s out.
As for the now sadly deceased Arches, they, like The Tron tended to go for something a wee bit unique and whilst retaining an element of panto focused more on making a Christmas show with a twist andbelieve me there was nobody better at producing this kind of spectacle than former Arches theatrical director Andy Arnold. I have to say Arnold is in my opinion a man who has to go down as one of the most innovative directors in the history of Scottish theatre. To take elements of panto and elements of more traditional theatre and blend them in the way he did to make shows which would always leave you with that warm festive feeling takes a very special kind of talent and the Scottish festive season is much poorer for the departure of the Arches which produced so much ground breaking theatre over it’s 25 year history and introduced Glasgow audiences to a new type of Christmas show
As for the last venue this place is without doubt in my opinion my favourite place for a Glasgow panto I refer of course to the Pavilion theatre. If the Kings was all about glamour, stars and sophistication the Pavilion was geared towards laughter and audience reaction and Pavilion audiences could get very raucous.
To me the Pavilion was about a comic look at Glasgow life with the panto as the narrative to tell the story. The Pavilion was and for that matter still is a bit more edgy than the Kings and the one liners packed a bit more of a punch with regards to topical issues. This is you like was the most Glaswegian experience of panto and with comedians such as Jimmy Logan, Johnny Bettie, and Andy Cameron, and local personalities such as Tiger Tim Stevens and the man who now reports from Hollywood Ross King and in more recent times Dean Park, Nicola Park and Cat Harvey, also treading the boards there it was always going to be that way.
That said there has always been something to suit all tastes in this city which is after all a former city of culture. It is also fair to say Glasgow has always been famed for variety and there is no better evidence of this than a pantomime season which proves that from glamour to a giggle feast we tell it like it is.
Love And Best Wishes