Written and Directed by Morag Fullarton
Musical Direction by John Kielty
The heat lamp’s aff, the pie-munching punters are seated, the colours are lurid, and there’s something crooked aboot – and it’s no the bar tab. The annual Òran Mór Panto makes a triumphant return to an eager crowd who are ready to boo, hiss, cheer and sing along to this year’s festive treat: Rab Hood & The Sheriff of Shettleston.
Thieving from the rich to give to the poor, there’s never been a more needed hero than that of Rab Hood, the vigilante seeking to redistribute the wealth and all in some remarkably snug green breeks. But where there’s charity, there’s a miser to scupper their good deeds. And the dastardly dandy of Chateau Shettleston, the Sheriff, has one goal: to claim the head of Rab Hood and put a stop to their charitable ne’er-do-well ways. So just what, or who can turn the heads of such distinctly different men? Well, only the voice of the lovely Maid Marion of Maryhill.
Master(ish) of disguise, our Rab Hood follows the same cliff notes of the Sherwood Forest, but with a few diversions just off the Clyde.
Writer and director Morag Fullarton commands foul language and crass humour with an ability to weave them so well through a traditional pantomime aesthetic. But this isn’t the only ‘adult’ feature of the production; the political wit Fullarton ripostes throughout is sharp and cutting, effective as a face-on stab at the current state of affairs. Where the political humour usually dips, it suits the tale of Robin Hood tremendously, and John Kielty is more than happy to aid in weaving it through the production’s musical qualities.
Hannah Howie and Kielty bounce off one another with a gleeful gusto as Marion and Rab, Fullarton’s writing having a much smoother flow between lines than other Pantos. The pair manage to keep the momentum going, rather than a simple set-up and punchline routine, though if there were any gaps you wouldn’t notice thanks to Howie’s persistent songbird routine. Fullarton puts music right at the heart of Rab Hood, mixing the usual influx of pop music and power ballads with a merciful touch of comedy.
A word of warning: if you’re a slacker when it comes to your Panto patter, George Drennan is having none of it. There’ll be no mouthing along for the front row as Dame Beanie sets it out firmly that though this Panto might aim its sights above the usual crowd of youngsters, everyone is to embrace their childhood Panto memories and raise the floorboards for the diners upstairs. Drennan matches the cast in vitriol and energy, sneaking in as many glances and double-takes as possible to ensure there isn’t a sour pus in the place. Well, there’s always at least one miserable old villain amongst the lot.
Who doesn’t love a baddie? And one of the best in the biz, Clare Waugh dons the glittering-black Sheriff’s cap with glee as they thrive in spreading mischief and misery to the good folk of Glasgow. Together with Craig Mclean’s Stumer (and a few other members of the Sheriff’s forces), the pair are a delectable duo – eager to please the crowd, and eager to enjoy themselves with the script before them.
A snapshot of a Pantomime at an hour long, Rab Hood & The Sheriff of Shettleston fits snuggly in the usual Òran Mór lunchtime slot – likely struggling to make it to the ninety-minute mark. With a splash of the risqué and a whetstone of political jokes, Fullarton and crew do a tremendous job of serving a perfect slice of panto panache.
Perfect Slice of Risqué Panto
Rab Hood & The Sheriff Of Shettleston runs at Òran Mór, Glasgow, until December 31st.
Tickets for which may be obtained here.