THE twelfth Braemar Panto, Babes in The Wood, got off to a really dull start. Oh no it didn't! writes George Angus.
The annual pantomime socked it to audiences for five days running and on Boxing Day delivered a knockout performance.
Enter stage right, pursuing the Babes, Nurse Nitwit (Sandra Bain) bombarding the audience with rapid-fire wit and with a command to the pianist Dave Westall to “take the handbrake off!” belts out a rousing version of I'm Just a Girl Who Can't Say No.
The Babes (Billy and Milly played by Ruaridh Grant and Ailsa Glennie) are missing, the Sheriff of Nottingham is on the prowl and Robin Hood is at large in the woods. The game is afoot, and Nurse Nitwit has only been on stage for five minutes.
Ian Halliday as Mole, one of the pair of less than competent Sheriff's men is warm, funny and entertaining and Megan Holley, his buddy Wart, has her work cut out to keep him in line.
A large contingent of talented young people from Upper Deeside helps swell the able ranks of the performers and the chorus line and when the excellent supporting cast try to placate the distraught and Babe-less Nurse Nitwit, Sandra Bain's impressive greetin' has to be heard to be believed. Pitched somewhere between a bereaved howler monkey and a defective air-raid siren there is no mistaking that Nursey is upset, fortunately before we are forced to jam our fingers in our ears, the missing Babes appear in the nick of time, “Where?” demands Nitwit, where else but “Behind You!”
Soon we are introduced to the baddie: David Drysdale's superb Sheriff of Nottingham, the baddest baddie in the whole of Braemar, and as he stalks menacingly through the audience he regales us with I Have a Little List — a musical catalogue of people and things the Sheriff wouldn't miss, including Robin Hood and, curiously , some recent adjustments to provision of NHS services in the Braemar area.
The Sheriff wants to kill the Babes to inherit their fortune but Robin Hood in the form of Lynn Glennie is on hand to save the day. Robin, it has to be said, has easily the best hair in the cast, and sports a fetching set of Laughing Cavalier style whiskers.
Robin is in love with the comely Maid Marion (Erin McAlpine).
But the dastardly Sheriff intervenes with a diabolical plot to trap Robin, and end his popular wealth redistribution scheme, by whisking the comely maid off to the dungeon.
Things look bleak for our hero Robin, will he be trapped?, Will the Babes be bumped off? Will Nurse Nitwit start greetin' again?
It all ends in sadness and tears. Oh No It Doesn't!
True love triumphs and things work out for the best in this dazzling and professional production, the two months work put in by the cast and crew has paid off in spades, a great show and a real Christmas treat