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  • Review by john Murray

Big Big Variety Returns

Well how big can the variety show get? The 2018 Allan Stewart version just got bigger and packed houses this week (despite the weather all shows are on) are enjoying a non-stop show in the true traditions of variety. Opening the show with the kings All Star Orchestra Allan himself becomes Leo Sayer in a brilliant opening of The Show Must Go On.

With Pantomime partner Grant Stott joining in with sketches and a solo stand up the laughs flow from what can easily be a separate double act. As the MacRobert Brothers the characters kick in and with audience participation we get a third Boaby in the line up. Of course the long running Kings Panto is where this banter has developed and we even saw a preview of Beauty And The Beast ahead of the 2018 season in flawless characterisations. The ad libs are always welcomed too though and the warm audience really appreciate this, it can only happen at the Kings, their home. No Andy Gray due to commitments sadly but Grant & Andy will return they revealed with their great Fringe 2017 show Double Feature set in an old cinema.

As for the guests pedigree, first up Phil Butler draws in the audience in perfectly pitched routine with a reveal at the end. Fred MacAulay needs no introduction and has the experience to tell some stories which are both believable and funny.

I guess the headliners must be the amazing Three Degrees, not a tribute but the actual touring ladies from this longest running lady trio ever. The Sound Of Philadelphia was in the air as the ladies in beautiful gowns sang in harmony and sharing lead vocals from their impressive catalogue. Opening with their first hit single Dirty Ol’ Man the time limited the chance to explore or even cool off with a ballad. It was hits all the way with Year Of Decision, Giving Up Giving In, My Simple Heart and of course the big chart topper When Will I See You Again to close the first half.

A full show and as Allan Stewart ran through a medley of his amazing impressions I wish we had more and it’s his show after all. How can he top this? We await the announcement of the even Bigger Big Variety Show for 2019.

Kings Theatre Edinburgh till March 3

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