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REVIEW: Aganeza Scrooge (Tron Theatre, Glasgow)

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

1 December 2023

Tron Theatre, Glasgow

⭐⭐⭐⭐


Aganeza Scrooge, Glasgow Tron Theatre, panto, pantomime, 2023, Johnny McKnight.

Take Charles Dicken's 'A Christmas Carol' but make it Glaswegian!


For this festive season, director Sally Reid and the creative team at Glasgow's Tron Theatre have taken the Dicken's classic and given it a distinctly Trongate makeover.


Written by panto legend Johnny McKnight, Aganeza Scrooge was first staged and played by McKnight himself in 2012. Resurrected for 2023, Ms Scrooge is played here with exuberance by the phenomenal Louise McCarthy, and the category is: 90s, AbFab!


On Dickensian Street, the residents are preparing for Christmas. All except miserly Aganeza Scrooge. Her employee Cratchit (Julie Wilson Nimmo) is struggling to care for her sickly son, Tiny Tim (Kyle Gardiner). Aganeza thinks the city is over-populated anyway, so she doesn't much care for their plight. But when Aganeza is visited by a number of ghosts on Christmas Eve, can she change her ways and finally embrace the spirit of Christmas? No not gin; the other one.


Julie Wilson Nimmo and Kyle Gardiner in Aganeza Scrooge, Glasgow Tron Theatre, December 2023. Photo: Eoin Carey

With a somewhat smaller budget than the other pantos in Glasgow and Edinburgh, the Tron Theatre's festive productions rely heavily on the quality of the writing, the creative team and the cast. And they never miss! The Tron more than hold their own against their glitzier rivals (whilst poking fun at them too.)


Johnny McKnight's 'Scrooge' script is full of his trademark sharp humour and acute observations, and it's delivered expertly with joy and enthusiasm by a small cast of incredible talents. To have Scrooge visited by the ghosts of panto past, present and future is a stroke of genius that allows this production to go off-book with hilarious results.


Katie Barnett (the divine Wicked Witch from last year's Tron panto), Kyle Gardiner (fresh from breaking my heart in Moorcroft), Jamie Marie Leary (stunning in Nae Expectations), Julie Wilson Nimmo (Balamory, lots of great things since, and now a true Tron panto legend!) and Star Penders (Scots and God!) make for a fantastic company of players, and each of them already hold a special place in my heart. To see them onstage, together here is a delight. My face hurts from smiling.


Jamie Marie Leary, Katie Barnett and Star Penders in Aganeza Scrooge, Glasgow Tron Theatre, December 2023. Photo: Eoin Carey

I've seen Louise McCarthy perform before and she is a formidable actor; but she is out-of-this world spectacular in the lead role of Aganeza Scrooge. Wow! You must go simply to witness this glorious achievement. 'Absolutely Fabulous' does not even come close. Aganeza is so believable you could possibly bump into someone like her in the Merchant City... Yet she is also terrifically over-the-top and villainesque - perfectly suited to the pantosphere.


With great original music from Ross Brown, gorgeous lighting from Benny Goodman and shrewd direction by Sally Reid, Aganeza Scrooge romps through the full story of 'A Christmas Carol' whilst still leaving plenty of room for the traditional panto japes and detours.


Saying that, I do think Aganeza Scrooge is best suited to an adult audience. Not that it's explicit or gory in anyway, but it is more dialogue-heavy than your regular, silly pantomime fayre specifically geared towards young children. The Tron pack in a lot of story (a good thing!) and there are quite a few 90's pop-culture references. It's perfect for 70's and 80's babies - ideal for me! But little ones may prefer a more traditional fairytale panto, with a prince and princess, with more magic and fantasy. Personally, I love the bonkers, bitter creation and find it a breath of fresh air at this time of year.


Aganeza Scrooge plays at Glasgow's Tron Theatre until Sunday 7th January 2024 and tickets have sold like hot-cakes! Best availability is in January. Check with box office - details below.


⭐⭐⭐⭐


(Scroll to the end to find more reviews featuring some of this great cast!)


📸 Production photos: Eoin Carey


Louise McCarthy as Aganeza Scrooge, Glasgow Tron Theatre, December 2023. Photo: Eoin Carey
 

Listings


Venue: Main Auditorium, Tron Theatre, 63 Trongate, Glasgow G1 5HB

Dates: Wed 29 Nov 2023 – Sun 7 Jan 2024, times vary

Tickets: £17.50/£20/£25

Box Office: 0141 552 4267 or www.tron.co.uk


Aganeza Scrooge, Glasgow Tron Theatre, panto, pantomime, 2023, Johnny McKnight.
 

CAST


Katie Barnett

Kyle Gardiner

Jamie Marie Leary

Louise McCarthy

Star Penders

Julie Wilson Nimmo


COMPANY INFORMATION


Written by Johnny McKnight

Directed by Sally Reid

Designed by Kenny Miller

Composer & Musical Director - Ross Brown

Lighting Design – Benny Goodman

Choreographer – Eva Johnson


 

🎄 REVIEW: Aganeza Scrooge (Tron Theatre, panto, pantomime, 2023, Johnny McKnight, Glasgow) 🎄


🎟️ Disclosure: I was invited to review this show and received a complimentary ticket in exchange. Whether I am invited or not has absolutely no impact on my reviews or star ratings.


📧 For media and review requests contact Lisa_InTheTheatre@outlook.com

💗 To see more pictures and videos follow @Lisa_InTheTheatre on Instagram


Lisa in the theatre. Scottish theatre reviewer. UK theatre blog. Glasgow Theatre. Edinburgh Theatre. Scotland theatre.

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