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Mark Fisher
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Follow me @markffisher and @writeabouttheat I am an Edinburgh-based freelance journalist and critic specialising in theatre and the arts. Publications I write for include the Guardian, Scotland on Sunday and the Scotsman. I am the author of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide: how to make your show a success, published in February 2012 and How to Write About Theatre: A Manual for Critics, Students and Bloggers published in July 2015. From 2000-2003, I was the editor of The List magazine, Glasgow and Edinburgh's arts and events guide. See my website for more information and comprehensive Scottish theatre links.
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Friday, December 04, 2009

Ya Beauty and the Beast, Tron Theatre review

Published in The Guardian


Ya Beauty and the Beast


Tron, Glasgow
3 out of 5

There was a time when you could attribute the Tron panto's usual blend of the traditional and the ironic to the postmodern sensibilities of writers Fletcher Mathers and Gordon Dougall. But today, the word "postmodern" no longer does its panto justice. It's as if it has been sucked into a black hole, thrown out the other side, and reconfigured in its own eccentric universe. Panto has eaten itself and Ya Beauty and the Beast is the result.

"If only I were a feminist instead of a panto principal girl, maybe I would be able to understand it all," deadpans the excellent Sally Reid, but she is not the only one struggling to keep up with this warped reworking of the myth. The plot involves a pansy who is losing her petals, an eager-to-please kangaroo, a circus with naff novelty acts, a girl who is turned into a dog, and a shark-driven race across the sea. The romance, such as it is, turns out to be between Andy Clark's hard-as-nails dame, Bunty Beautox (aka Ya Beauty) and George Drennan's cursed monster Barfolemew Beastie.

I'm not even sure if the internal logic holds up in any of this, but it is staged with such irrepressible good humour – terrible puns and all – that it hardly matters. In previous years, the songs have been funnier, the sets more striking and the meta-panto satire more subversive, so the final curtain decision to put the show to bed for a 100 years is sad but probably wise. All the same, I've put a date in my diary for December 2109.

© Mark Fisher 2009


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