When you imagine Sleeping Beauty, sun tans and white teeth do not tend to make the cut.
However in this year’s pantomime at His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen, they are all part of the promised packaged “rollercoaster”.
Written by panto dame extraordinaire Alan McHugh, Sleeping Beauty will be offer audiences a singing, dancing “rollercoaster ride of thrills and spills” and a bundle of laughs.
Blinding audiences with said promised “white teeth”, a strong tan and quick wit is Scotland’s favourite squaddie Gary: Tank Commander.
The character played by Scottish Bafta winning actor and writer Greg McHugh will be Nurse Nannie Macduff’s son – played by Alan McHugh – in the production.
They will be joined by Aberdeen’s own Danielle Jam as The Good Fairy and Michael Karl Lewis who plays the prince.
Looking forward to ‘topping up the tan’
Casting a spell over HM Theatre from December 2, Sleeping Beauty is a festive tale set in the far-off land of Aberdonia.
Princess Aurora is given a 21st birthday present by her evil aunt Carabosse. But after pricking her finger on an enchanted spinning wheel, she is placed under a cruel curse and forced to sleep until woken by true love’s kiss.
When asked how the character of Gary: Tank Commander fits into the well-known fairytale, the squaddie simply said: “It works because it’s Gary.”
Commenting about visiting the theatre – after going on a tangent about the Queen’s undercover trips to Magaluf and her Tweety Pie tattoo – Gary said it was somewhere he had already wanted to visit.
“When the opportunity came up I was like, ‘you ken where I’d like to be at Christmas is Aberdeen with my mum’,” he said, cheekily glancing at Mr McHugh.
However, Gary soon revealed his real reason for the trip. The famous blasting Aberdeen sunshine.
“It’s going to be sunny,” he said. “I’ve looked into the long term forecast, it is roasting at Christmas because of the climate change.
“I’ve got a couple of hours to get the tan topped up in the morning and then at the intervals I’ll be back oot in the sun and then just to enjoy myself because life’s about enjoying yourself.
“I’m looking forward to the brilliant people of Aberdeen and the love I’m going to receive. I’m going to receive love and I’m going to get it back.”
Performing in Aberdeen ‘humbling and heart warming’
Mr McHugh said it was great to finally get the well-loved character up to play a panto in the city.
“I’ve been desperate to get him up to Aberdeen but he’s always been out on manoeuvres out in the desert,” he said.
“But noo that he’s sorted out Syria and Libya, he’s now free to come to Aberdeen and join the family.”
Marking his 19th year playing in Aberdeen, the writer and actor said he was grateful to be back.
“Genuinely it is like home to me,” he added.
“I love the building, I love the audience….When you walk out onto that stage and you can tell they’re delighted to see you and I’m delighted to see them.
“It just makes everything worthwhile. It’s humbling and it’s heart warming.”
Sleeping Beauty baddie excited to ‘let rip’ in role
The cast will be joined by Julie Coombe as Carabosse the “baddie”, with comic actor and Rover City starring Paul J Corrigan as Slimeball,
Ms Coombe – who is no stranger to playing a baddie – said this is first time she is back in Aberdeen after appearing in Mr McHugh’s first pantomime nearly 20 years ago where she played the wicked queen.
“I love playing a baddie,” she said. “I’m still bad, still wicked.”
Excited to again be working with a great group of people, “great script” and a lot of comedy, she said Carabosse might be her favourite baddie yet.
“I think Carabosse is the best female-identifying baddie because she’s got real motivation,” she said.
“She feels wronged. She things this kingdom is hers so for an actor it’s brilliant because you know why you’re so mad with everyone.
“It’s just going to be such good fun, it’s going to be great letting rip.”
This year’s Sleeping Beauty production runs from December 2, until January 7. Tickets available on the Aberdeen Performing Arts website.