Monster laughs in Nessie’s panto at Abbey Theatre

The Abbey Theatre panto this year is Nessie the Panto. The cast were pictured at rehersals on Tuesday evening.
The Abbey Theatre panto this year is Nessie the Panto. The cast were pictured at rehersals on Tuesday evening.

THE ABBEY Theatre Club has come up ‘trumps’ with its hilarious ‘Nessie - the Panto’.

The baddie, Ronald Grump, played with a failed comb-over by Alan Johnston, wants to build a golf course on Loch Ness.

Defenders of the Loch are Nesscafe coffee shop owner Victoria Sponge, played superbly by Mark Masson, as scary a dame as I have seen!

She is aided by her nephew Angus. Full name Angus Cooncil (Linsey McDonald).

Grump is aided (well, not really!) by hapless henchmen Haggis (Moira Steven) and Neeps (Laura Adam).

And there is the return of the twa wee wifies Bessie (Sheila Ratcliffe) and Jessie (Irene Lindsay), who get funnier every year.

Writer and producer of the panto, Alan Christison, plays Professor Scooby Doolally, helped by his assistant Emma Goody (Debbi Proctor). He wants to prove that Nessie exists.

Nessie is played by Emily Barnes, and voiced by Eileen Robb.

Other essential parts are: Grump’s secretary, Charity, Julia Smith; a minister, Stewie Malcolm; Vernon, Craig MacPherson; Luke Infernessie, Lisa Deas; and the inevitable Dalek by Pat McInroy, voiced by Chris Cassell.

In the chorus and with other roles are Callum Baker, Terri-Marie Baker, Emily Barnes, Siobhan Dear, Jamie Smith and Tom Christison, who did the introduction.

I am delighted that I saw the show, well up to standard, and often reducing me to helpless laughter.

The Abbey Theatre panto is in the best family tradition of the genre.

Additional material was by Steve Proctor, and those not already named included stage manager Dave Ferguson (the health and safety man!); props, Linda Patterson; make-up, Marie Baker; headgear, Jean Henderson; costumes, Lex Sawley, Lynn McNairn, Susie McKinstray, Maria Masson and Fiona Burness; lighting and sound, Stephen Gilbert and helpers; set construction Dave Ferguson and helpers; set painters, Caroline Pennant-Jones and Dorothy Parfitt.

GWC