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Ya Wee Beauty And The Beastie Review - By Callum Stott

Updated: Jan 11

This tale as old as time receives the Kirkcaldy treatment in this feel-good pantomime production, filled with lots of heart, laughs, and a dame like no other in Billy Mack.

Ya Wee Beauty And The Beastie follows the unkind Laird Callum (Robin Mackenzie) as he demands rent from the Kirkcaldy town residents who cannot afford it. Laird Callum is cursed to be a Beast, with a curse also falling on the town that if the petals should fall from a cursed rose, Kirkcaldy’s High Street will be destroyed and turned into another retail park. Also, if Laird Callum doesn’t change his ways and learns how to love, he will see his end. To stop this from happening, Dame Kitty McCrivvens played by pantomime dame legend Billy Mack, and her daughter Bella (Sarah Brown Cooper), as well as help from Mark McDonnell, who plays Laird Callum’s forgetful butler, Jings, must stand up to the not so kind Lady Thornybush, played by Christina Strachan to defeat the curse. To round up the cast, Kirkcaldy’s resident Kitty, The Mercat, acts as the narrator through each scene. Bella starts to see a kinder side to the Beast, but will this be enough to save Kirkcaldy’s High Street and allow Laird Callum to live?

Photography by Lewis Milne.

The strength of this production lies in funny storytelling and a cast that works so well together and gets on even after the curtain falls. As the group finishes their performance, you see them give each other a group hug at the end, and this chemistry is so evident throughout the piece. Billy Mack is the perfect dame for this production. He has been a part of Kirkcaldy’s DNA for many years in pantomime and delivers a hilarious turn as The Coorie Inn landlady, Kitty Mcrivens. The writing by Mark McDonnell with Jonathon Stone compliments Billy’s dame so well and gives Billy enough space to make the script his own, with many witty ad-libs added. The script is packed full of nods to Kirkcaldy. Like any good panto, Ya Wee Beauty and the Beastie is stuffed full of local references and talking points. Although the story could have a more coherent plot in places, rules like this are not sticking points for pantomime. This one has a good mix of storytelling and plot, plus pure panto fun.

Photography by Lewis Milne.

Mark McDonnell returns as the audience’s pal, Jings. Mark’s ability to be funny to children and adults alike is a testament to his years of experience and many years of performing in the panto. Watching him and Billy have fun together in scenes is like watching two seasoned pros showing off their craft. Sarah Brown Cooper returns to the Kirkcaldy King’s panto as Belle. She is a good performer and a confident lead. Local Robin Mackenzie also has a large part to play as Laird Callum. Although he is more unlikeable in this panto, especially in Act 1, he delivers a strong character arc becoming more kinder as the panto progresses. His Act 2 solo number is a real treat to hear his strong vocals shine. Christina (Kirsty) Strachan also returns for another year. Her character of Lady Thornybush starts so pleasantly, but we soon learn there is wickedness within. She becomes a strong villain in the piece and gets the crowd fired up, willing to boo and hiss her.

Photography by Lewis Milne.

For being an intimate venue, the set design is impressive. Jonathan Stone, Graham Scott, and Lewis Milne’s designs transport you into the middle of Kirkcaldy High Street and to various locations, including a local Inn and the Ravenscraig Castle. Excluding a few extra additions of video effects, the use of traditional cloth sets adds to the authentic panto feeling.

Photography by Lewis Milne.

Leaving the panto, the feeling to take away is happiness (which they also do a brilliant musical number around in Act 2). Seeing the cast having fun and loving working together and enjoying what they do makes audiences feel relaxed and happy to be there. For pure panto capers, plus lots of happiness, Ya Wee Beauty And The Beastie is an uplifting two hours of entertainment in the heart of Kirkcaldy.

This production has been rated ☆☆☆☆

Ya Wee Beauty And The Beastie runs at Kings Theatre, Live Lounge, Kirkcaldy until Saturday the 6th of January. Tickets are on sale at:



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