Funny, sad, scary, spooky and cool;Arts;Theatre

24th December 1999 at 00:00
We asked primary schools to review this year's Christmas pantomimes for us. Children's articles poured in by the hundreds, from Airdrie to Inverness, full of excited tales of theatres and bright lights. Here are edited compilations of their reviews.

THE PRINCESS AND THE GOBLIN. MacRobert Centre, Stirling. Reviewed by P7, Deanburn Primary, Bo'ness, Falkirk.

The Princess and the Goblin is a wonderful show in which there are humorous, emotional and heart warming moments. Some are dreadfully sad and some are superbly happy.

It is about a princess who wants to go outside and look at the stars. The King and her nurse won't let her out at night because of the goblins. The goblins capture Princess Irene, and Curdie, a miner boy, saves her with the help of Fannon, the dragon. They fall in love and Fannon the dragon goes away with them over the mountain.

The characters all shone in their own way, but our favourites were Princess Irene, because she was funny and brave and made the audience feel like they were part of the performance; Fannon the dragon, because he seemed fierce but turned out to be a loving softy; and Nurse Lootie, because she was really good at being bossy.

The scenery and costumes were amazing. The scenery changed if the character became good or bad, and Great, Great Grandmother had a nice sparkly costume with lots of little sequences.

It was really funny when the characters were all charging at each other and kept on stealing each other's weapons and when Princess Irene and Curdie Peterson were kissing, because all the audience were giggling and whistling. Other good bits were when Nurse Lootie was going to sit down and Princess Irene pulled the seat away; when the goblin pet was crawling down the stairs and we called him names; when they "bong the gong"; and when the goblins popped out of the ground at the end and Princess Irene shut the trapdoor.

The story was excellent - funny, sad, scary, spooky and cool all in one go! We thought it was absolutely marvellous.

SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS. Eden Court Theatre, Inverness. Reviewed by P1-7, Bonar Bridge Primary, Highland.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was quite a modern pantomime. It had the basic storyline but with some modern pop songs from Robbie Williams, Steps, Boyzone and S Club 7.

Snow White was really beautiful, but the funniest character was Muddles, who kept getting everything muddled up. His job was to guard the rope and any time somebody was going to touch it we had to call out "Muddles!" We also liked the bits when he acted like the wicked queen and pretended he was practising his ballet dance, and when he jumped out of the well and pretended to be on a horse for Snow White.

The wicked queen was very good, but she got booed a lot, so you couldn't always hear what she was saying. Dame Deirdre, the cook, was very funny and made us laugh, particularly when he dressed up as a bumble bee.

The funniest bits were when Dopy kept getting lost; when the wicked queen sank into the stage and when Muddles kept getting everything muddled up. When he was having a picnic with his mum in the forest and she put the custard down his trousers, we couldn't stop laughing.

But some of us got a fright at another bit when the cooker exploded.

We enjoyed joining in the songs. Our favourite was "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and instead of "a partridge in a pear tree" it was "a bra that could only hold three". Snow White and Prince Remington were very good singers.

The worst bit was that it had to end.

THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME. Mamp;M Productions At Kilbowie Primary, West Dunbartonshire. Reviewed by P3 and P6.

At the start of the pantomime the mayor finds an ugly child on the steps of Notre Dame cathedral. His mum adopts it and calls it Quasimodo. He grows up, falls in love with a gypsy called Esmerelda, then marries her and turns into a beautiful handsome boy. It was excellent. It was really sad at first, but near the end it was getting better.

Our favourite characters were Esmerelda, because she sang and acted beautifully and was very kind, the Jester, who had sparkling clothes and when the lights went out he made a spark with his lighter, Headless Harry, who had a puppet round his waist as his real head was hiding under his clothes, and the priest, who was really funny.

The funniest moments were when Crock wanted a kiss off Esmerelda and she hit him with a club, and when the Mayor was slapping Crock. Other good bits were the sword fighting, when the Mayor locked his mum up in the dungeon and Quasimodo rescued her, when Esmerelda kissed Quasimodo and they got married, the party at the end and joining in the songs.

The music was out of this world, with Boyzone and Steps, and the characters danced to S Club 7. The costumes were so sparkly and colourful, particularly the jester's, and the props were good, like the golden chalice, swords, shopping bag, lighter and basket of flowers.

HANSEL AND GRETEL. Hopscotch theatre company. At Bantaskin Primary, Falkirk. Reviewed by P2, 5 and 7

Hansel and Gretel was about a poor boy and girl who lived with their father and wicked stepmother. She put a spell on their father and made him leave them in the woods. The children bumped into an old lady who was a witch and she took them to her gingerbread cottage and tried to make them eat so much that they got fat and she could eat them.

Some of the jokes were really good, like Senga Sausage saying her husband was Lorne Sausage and her brother was Quorn Sausage; Hansel and Gretel saying they thought Senga Sausage was Pat Butcher; the woods being like the Blair Witch Project; and Gretel saying: "What's that smell?" and Senga Sausage saying: "Oh, it was just my bum."

The funniest moments were when Senga Sausage said to Hansel and Gretel that she would punch and boot the witch and she was just behind him; when Hansel and Gretel got scared and jumped, they hit each other and got a fright; when they were running mad round our school hall; and when Hansel stuck out a chicken bone instead of his hand.

It was good, too, when they kicked the witch into the cooking potfireoven (though some found it a bit scary) and she jumped out. We got the fright of our lives and all the kids were laughing. Everybody started shouting "Boooo" and putting thumbs down.

Our favourite character was Dame Senga Sausage because he was funny and was a man dressed up as a woman. He wore a shower cap on his head with clouds on it, a skirt with clouds on the top part and coloured lips on the skirt, big dangly earrings and smudged make-up. We liked the way he spoke (in a Scottish accent). He never walked like normal people - his feet were always straight, even his toes; they were pink, blue, green and yellow and made of fur. His body language was brilliant, his facial expression was even better.

It was a brilliant show.

MOTHER GOOSE. King's Theatre, Glasgow. Reviewed by P3-7, St David's Primary, Airdrie, North Lanarkshire.

Mother Goose was a poor but kind woman who had a clumsy son called Gussie. The squire was an evil old thing who was going to put her out of her house if she didn't pay her tax. But their goose started laying golden eggs and Mother Goose paid everyone's rent for 10 years.

Our favourite characters were Gertie, the goose, for her good looks, and Gussie, because he was funny and had sticky up hair and dressed up as Austin Powers, but we had to call him Gustin Powers. Every time he came on he shouted: "Hiya, pals!" The evil witch was good, because you got to see fireballs coming from her hands, which hit the ground with big puffs of smoke. And Mother Goose was a merry person who came in on a tricycle. Snott was really crude because he was picking his nose and flicking it. (YUK!) The funniest moments were when Mother Goose's hair went up; when Gussie fell off the roof; and when Dragonara was taking the goose to her kingdom and Gobbit and Snot came along and said: "That's an ugly duck you've got there, madam" and Dragonara said: "It's not a duck, it's a goose" and they said: "Yes, I was talking to the goose."

Other good bits were when Gussie put the money in his pocket and Gobbit and Snot tipped him upside down to get it; when Mother Goose and Gussie were hitting Snot and Gobbit in the face with pies (that's called slap-stick comedy); and when Darth Maul and the Goosebusters came out and the Goosebusters were singing. We loved it when Mother Goose and Gertie came out as Eddy and Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous, and when Gussie threw sweets at us. And when Mother Goose shouted "Nighty, Nighty!" we all replied "Pyjama, pyjama!". It was hilarious.

The costumes were out of this world, all glittering and Christmassy. When we sang "Shug the Millennibug", we did all the actions. We laughed so much we thought we would eggsplode. It all ran as smooth as icing on a birthday cake.

Our thanks to all the class teachers who organised the reviews for us.

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