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Sinbad the Sailor meets the mother from hell

SINBAD THE SAILOR Perth Theatre until January 11

There's colour to dazzle, there's music, there's myth and there's magic: Sinbad the Sailor, this year's classic pantomime at Perth Theatre had its premiere last Friday to a rapturous, hand-clapping, floor-thumping response.

Sinbad (Amanda Beveridge) gamely prepared for his voyage of adventure, hilariously hampered at every turn by gormless wee brother Tinbad (a splendid comic performance from Paul Nivison) and Mother Macaroon, the mother from hell. Mustapha, the Grand Vizier (Ian Grieve), was an affably wicked villain: you could boo, you could hiss - and lustily everybody did - but you couldn't quite hate him.

Written and directed by Michael Winter, Sinbad's script is wonderfully hackneyed as all pantomime scripts should be.

The sets by Alison Taylor were spectacularly cheerful and well matched by the shining costumes, designed by Linda Falco.

The music was rollicking good stuff and this was a production which faithfully preserved all the desired traditional aspects but whose special technical effects brought it that bit closer to the hearts and grasps of the technologically-reared children of the 1990s - especially the sub-oceanic luminous puppet-danced sequence starring Ollie the Octopus: "Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye," said Tinbad, shaking each of the eight tentacles.

Of the star turn there can be no question: John Ramage's dame, Mother Macaroon, in her hooped skirts and gaudy gaiters, delivered every classic quip to perfection with even the occasional fluff converted to a bonus. This was a dame with real zest. I could cheerfully have returned the following evening.

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