FOR once panto-goers might really be able to spot a family resemblance with Cinderella’s less attractive sisters.
In what may be a first for Inverness panto, the two sisters in The Florians’ production of the seasonal favourite are being played by real life siblings, Nicholas and Trevor Nicol.
"‘The Ugly Brothers’ we’ve been calling them," director Caroline Nicol joked — although she can probably get away with statements like that as she is wife to Trevor and sister-in-law to Nicky.
The brothers, who previously played a rather different comedy team up in Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple, are both long-standing members of the Inverness drama club, their family connection adding a bit of extra natural comic chemistry to their partnership.
Nicky has already plenty of experience of playing the dame in Florians pantos, but for Trevor, this is his first time in frocks and make-up.
"The worst bit is getting used to the high heels," Trevor said.
"The bra’s been a bit challenging as well, but the shoes are definitely the hardest bit."
He may have trouble getting used to the footwear, but Trevor should be familiar with the script, having written it himself as the first Florians panto to be created by the company itself.
"Our annual panto tradition started 21 years ago and this was the first script we did," Trevor said.
"It was a kind of an experiment that first time and if you look at a video of the first one, the sets were very basic. The theatre was very different as well."
In fact, it was largely due to the success of Cinderella and all the pantos that followed it that the Florians have been able to make improvements to their theatre to create a much more pleasant environment for both audience and performers — Caroline recalls having to take the Junior Florians of that era to the toilet in the neighbouring caravan park as the theatre did not have facilities of its own.
"The pantos really are a money-spinner," Trevor acknowledged.
"Without question we couldn’t have done the improvements we have without the success of the panto."
And Cinderella is consistently among the most popular pantos of them all.
"It has two dames, which is quite unique. They are kind of baddies as well, but you are supposed to like them," Trevor said.
"And people do love the magic."
• Cinderella runs at The Florians Theatre, Bught Lane, Inverness, until Saturday 14th December with evening performances at 7.30pm and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm. Ticket prices remain unchanged at £10 for adults and £5 for under 16s and are available on-line through the NODA box office.