Extra Review: Cannibal Women of Mars

Fiona Wood as maneater Princess Yasmin. Photo by Tim Morozzo.
Fiona Wood as maneater Princess Yasmin. Photo by Tim Morozzo.

AS far as attention-grabbing titles go, a musical comedy called Cannibal Women of Mars at the Tron Theatre ranks fairly high.

Add Mick Cooke (of Belle and Sebastian) penning music and lyrics alongside two well-kent Glasgow journalists, and the new musical looked promisingly whacky.

It may be 2113 on stage, but Cannibal Women of Mars is pure, traditional pantomime.

Opening sequences on a gloomy vision of earth (where unemployment has flatlined at 99 per cent and sex is off-limits for crowd control reasons) drag at first, taking time to get into the future swing

But by the time Glasgow-pattered Largs Lido dupes his friend Jaxxon into a trip to mars — women galore waiting on the other end, apparently — it’s safe to say that the audience are on board for the ride.

They’re leaving behind a world where men are obsolete to meet martian princesses Yasmin and Pippa for some good, less-than-clean fun — but have they bitten off more than they can chew?

Darren Brownlie shines as Largs, heaping on the physical comedy throughout — whether on all fours or just the one limb.

Mark Prendergast and Fiona Wood do well as the young lovers, and Marj Hogarth is seductively domineering as the cannibal queen.

But all credit goes to Glasgow stage stalwart Gavin Mitchell, who flits between characters with perfect timing, including the evil earth president singing the show’s standout number (with a title unsuitable for a family newspaper).

The songs are more hit than miss and, much like any good panto, the ending sees audience members wielding flashing guns, huge grins on their faces.

It may not be a smooth journey, but by the end, the Cannibal team have just about cracked it.

The action may be on mars, but this is a show firmly rooted in Glasgow music hall tradition — and for that reason, maneaters or not, audiences are bound to fall for its charms.

Rating: 7/10