For the past few years we have been to The Brunton to see the panto at Christmas time and it's become an annual family event we all look forward to. We attended earlier than usual this year on 30th November for some pre Christmas cheer.
The Brunton is located in Musselburgh and is easy to get to by car or public transport whether you're in East Lothian or Edinburgh. The car park nearby has plenty of spaces and is free to park in, unlike parking anywhere central in Edinburgh. The theatre itself has tiered seating meaning wherever you sit you get a great view of the stage. It's a great wee local theatre that feels very relaxed and intimate.
My two kids aged 5 and 8 were keen to take their seats and the theatre filled up quickly. There is a lift up to the top viewing area and space for wheelchair users. We were surrounded by a large group from the Portobello rainbows and brownies all seemingly excited to see the performance. The show started off introducing us to the main characters -Jack, his sister Jilly, his Mither (my personal favourite) and a very animated Daisy the coo (the kids’ favourite) we later meet 'Prince Designer Labels' and the various characters the 'baddie' gets to portray. 'Mither Mandy Moo Moo' can't pay her debts to the debt collector and despite entering as a contestant in The Voice then the Bake Off she can't raise the money she needs. They're left with no option but to sell Daisy. Jack is hypnotised into selling Daisy for some magic beans which Mither throws away in disgust. They wake to find a beanstalk and make their trip to the top for the second half of the show.
Once at the top of the beanstalk, Jilly and the Prince are held captive and romance ensues. Jack is reunited with Daisy and together they free the others and defeat the giant. After an entertaining trip back down the beanstalk, the baddie turns out to be not so bad after all and they come up with a solution to save the farm.
The show is produced by The Brunton, written and directed in house by John Binnie. The performance is full of singing and dancing (the floss is one every child in the audience was keen to join in with the adults maybe not so much) with plenty of encouragement to join in with songs everyone will be familiar with - 'I'm Gonna be', 'Eye of the Tiger', 'One Kiss', 'I Can Hear the Bells' and 'Money, Money, Money' to name a few. The costumes are fun with Mither and the giant’s wife wearing the best ones. It feels like a real traditional panto with lots of banter, audience participation and is a lovely fun, family event.
To sum it up the show is a fun Scottish twist on the Jack and the Beanstalk story we all know with lots of references to the local area dropped in, jokes and gags a plenty, singing and dancing, silly slippers and lots of farting much to the kids’ amusement. Will we be back again next year for another Christmas panto at the Brunton? Oh no we won't - oh yes we will.
Review by Pamela Campbell