Sinbad the Pantomime

Nov 26 2022 | By More

★★★★☆     Sin-good

Brunton Theatre: Fri 25 Nov – 2022
Review by Martin Gray

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas as Sinbad sails into Musselburgh’s Brunton Theatre for the festive season. And with the Arabian Nights legend, played with gusto by Calum Barbour, comes a slew of familiar faces making up the supporting cast.

Instantly recognisable in the guise of Betty Brunton is Graham Crammond, asking: ‘Where’s ma son Aladdin? Or is it Jack? Who is it this year?’ It’s Sinbad, you daftie, for whom Musselburgh is no longer enough – he wants to sail away from Fisherrow Harbour with his trusty cat Cuddles Nine-Lives (Ross Donnachie), despite said puss having boots, but no sea legs.

Ross Donnachie, Graham Crammond and Calum Barbour in Sinbad. Pic: Robin Mitchell

But away they go in search of treasure, along with stowaways Rosie (Eilidh Weir) and her Nurse (Isabella Jarrett). Rosie’s running away from mean mother Moneygrabba (Wendy Seager), who locks her away as if it’s still 2019 and they’re both in the Brunton’s Rapunzel. Nurse, meanwhile, has a tragedy in her past, but what the heck, she also has very useful magic powers…

Part of the fun of panto is the familiarity, with formulas as locked-in as those in the Hallmark Christmas films currently populating Channel 5. It’s comfort viewing, and if there’s the odd fresh joke about the local bakers, so much the better.

doesn’t lack for laughs

Writer/Director John Binnie seems to have cut back on the local and topical references this year – there’s not a Baynes or Nicola Sturgeon gag to be heard – but the show doesn’t lack for laughs. The cast squeeze every last chuckle out of lines that alternate between delightfully groan-some and genuinely witty, while the essential audience interaction adds unpredictably.

Isabella Jarrett, Eilidh Weir and Wendy Seager in Sinbad. Pic: Robin Mitchell

Don’t get too excited – Health & Safety are still preventing the tossing of sweeties into the audience, but kids (and the odd ‘hunky man’) get to come on stage for some cartoon fun with Betty and Cuddles.

Crammond and Donnachie, as usual, are a great team, their comedic chemistry giving Sinbad its best moments – Crammond explaining some TikTok nonsense song about corn is especially fun for those of us over ten.

surprise treat

Weir and Barbour do a top job of leading the obligatory pop songs, with a spot of Harry Styles not unexpected but Sam Ryder’s Eurovision winner (oh yes it was, whatever the Ukraine vote!) Spaceman a surprise treat. The wonderfully hiss-able Seager works extra hard as not just the Rachman-wannabe Moneygrabba but a pirate queen, island witch and giant roc.

The legendary bird’s costume is more South American than Middle Eastern, but all’s fair in love and panto and it adds spectacle, as do dancing skeletons, a huge snake and a rather excellent electric jellyfish.

The cast of Sinbad. Pic: Robin Mitchell

Kudos to set and costume designer Robin Mitchell for bringing Sinbad’s world to visual life. And let’s not forget the Dame’s costumes, which this year range from I’m a Celebrity to high street mermaid. The outfits seem swankier than ever for 2022, maybe something to do with the Queen Margaret University costume design students credited in the programme.

Praise, too, to Poppy Smith in a range of minor roles, and the talented tiny dancers of choreographer Amy Robinson’s Group 2 who, when they aren’t playing jungle kids or sailors, move props around like lightning. Clark Beedie’s sound design and Craig Dixon’s lighting also feeds into the general success of the show, while musical director Tommie Travers’ accompaniment and background tunes are a knockout.

The entire production team deserves the warm applause that arrives at the end, like our heroes returning to The Honest Toun, because Sinbad is a cracker of a Christmas show.

Running time: Two hours and 10 minutes (including one interval)
Brunton Theatre, Ladywell Way, Musselburgh EH21 6AA
Fri 25 Nov – Sat 31 Dec 2022
Various times, but generally Evenings: 7pm (Fri 5pm): Sat mat 2pm. (Theatre).
Tickets and full details of times: Book here.

Graham Crammond in Sinbad. Pic: Robin Mitchell


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments (1)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Gordon Nicol says:

    This was a superb show !
    My 8 year old daughter was absolutely thrilled and shouted her loudest to warn the goodies of the baddies lurking behind them.
    Great signing from Sinbad and extremely rich singing from his co star.
    Graham Crammond was absolutely fahbulous and in my opinion, the star of the show.
    The youngest members were incredible. How anyone so young could memorise the script and get all the timings spot on !