BWW Review: ALICE IN WEEGIELAND, Tron Theatre, Glasgow
Alice is a Yorkshire lass who dreams of being a dancer but has been told by her vicious dance teacher Fraulein Rot that she will never be good enough. Alice recognises that she needs to go on some kind of journey of self discovery so when her beloved cat Dinah is lured down into Weegieland, she barely hesitates to follow her.
When Alice enters Weegieland she meets Dora the Dormouse (Jo Freer) who is every inch the wee Glasgae housewife. Johnny McKnight's script is dynamite and never fails to deliver excellent one liners, local references and sharp wit. Although it is based on Alice In Wonderland, I can't stress enough how loosely. Yes, she travels into an alternate dimension and there are cries of "aff with their heid" but it really does feel like a brand new story.
If you haven't yet seen Darren Brownlie do panto- you haven't lived. More RuPaul's Drag Race than pantomime dame, the Queen of Hearts oozes sass and wit. His timing is impeccable, vocals are flawless and dance moves are a slight to behold. Brownlie also plays Fraulein Rot in the opening scene and is the perfect blend of pure evil and utterly fabulous.
The regular panto traditions are present here but with a slight twist. Sweets are tossed into the audience from chip containers. The cast read out audience mentions and instead of a simple wave as a response you are required to shout back "over here ya rocket".
Alice In Weegieland is a different kind of panto. With original songs and jokes designed to go way over the kids heads I did begin to wonder how much it would appeal to children as it felt so specifically aimed at me.. However, Julie Wilson Nimmo is on hand to provide the laughs for the wee ones as Catty the Caterpillar. Sporting a spectacular costume and fart jokes a-plenty Catty ensures shrieks of delight throughout.
Against the other pantomimes in Glasgow (which the Alice In Weegieland script takes a good natured swipe at) the Tron Theatre might be seen as a more alternative choice. It doesn't stick to the original story, it doesn't feature any chart topping hits and it doesn't star "somebody off the telly". I am by no means a panto snob and I'm not opposed to any of those elements but I feel that going against the grain is what makes this production so special. The quality of talent is exceptional and the song and dance numbers are worthy of any West End musical. I can't recommend Alice In Weegieland highly enough!
Alice In Weegieland runs at the Tron Theatre until Sunday 7th January.