Panto pals add extra fairytale magic to student show at HMT

Panto pals add extra fairytale magic to student show at HMT

Cheesy lines, outlandish characters and Doric charm – audiences can’t be faulted for thinking of the Aberdeen Student Show as a spring panto.

And the cast can’t help but see the comparison when around a quarter of them have starred in some of the North-east’s finest community pantomimes.

Of the 45-strong Mary Torphins cast, more than 10 have starred in local pantos in Peterhead, Fraserburgh and Inverurie, as well as the Aberdeen Arts Centre festive treat.

They have played the roles of fairytale princesses, adventurous heroes, dastardly villains and silly sidekicks to name but a few.

And they’ll be putting their panto acting expertise to good use in the student show Mary Torphins – a parody of the much-loved Disney classic Mary Poppins – which is being staged at His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen from Wednesday to Saturday, April 18 to 21.

Show administrator Sophie Hamilton, who will also being playing the baddie role as the feisty and flirty Provost in this year’s show, could be said to be the queen of community panto.

The 20-year-old, third-year law student from Kintore has starred in 12 pantomimes and, in the last few years, has played the leading lady at Inverurie as Cinderella, Wendy in Peter Pan, Alice in Dick Whittington and Jasmine in Aladdin.

But switching from a goodie-two-shoes to the nasty and sexy Provost, Countess Wells, is no problem for Sophie.

“I love that I’m getting a change from the usual smiley and innocent girly parts that I play,” she said. “In last year’s student show I played the part of the lead male’s ex-girlfriend who broke his heart. The audience were unsure of how to take me then, but this year I can’t wait to sass it up and be a full-on baddie!”

Similarly, Rhona Johnston, who plays Mary Torphins and is the show’s assistant administrator, took the lead role of Cinderella in the 2010 Aberdeen Arts Centre panto.

It was then that she got to know the director of this year’s student show, Ryan Peacock, who played Cinders sidekick, Buttons and who has performed in pantomimes in Peterhead, Fraserburgh and Inverurie.

“Ryan’s great to work with,” Rhona commented. “He has so much stage experience that he really knows what he’s talking about and can understand from the point of view of the actors what works best on stage.”

Tickets for Mary Torphins are available online at, by phone at 01224 641122 and at Aberdeen Box Office at the Music Hall and His Majesty’s Theatre.

Posted on Sunday 25 March

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