There is nothing like a dame for councillor Baxter

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Fort William and Ardnamurchan representative Andrew Baxter is swapping Highland Council theatrics for panto next week when he dons the dame mantle in Spotlight Theatre’s production of Treasure Island.

Just five weeks after revealing he will not be standing for re-election next May, the often outspoken Independent councillor will be treading the boards at the Corran Halls in Oban as the character of Mrs Hawkins – the landlady of the local pub and mother of hero Jim.

‘To be honest I’m still spinning with confusion a bit with it but rehearsals have been going really well,’ said Councillor Baxter who has been rehearsing for the show since August.

‘I haven’t been on the stage for more than 25 years and most of my parts in the past have been quite serious so this is quite a leap into the unknown.

‘It’s a renewal of an old love though and I’m enjoying every minute of it.’

Councillor Baxter was persuaded to audition for the panto by Spotlight Theatre Company director Stephen Day who plays Watson to his Sherlock Holmes in an exclusive production for Nevis Radio which will be aired at Christmas.

Having been a member of Inverness Operatic Society in the past, acting and singing were not a problem for Councillor Baxter, although he admits the dancing is taking a bit more work.

‘The audience can expect to be entertained with some classic dad dancing throughout the show,’ added the father of two.

Treasure Island is the first Spotlight Theatre pantomime since 2017 and follows the antics of Long John Silver and his rather strange crew as well as a blossoming romance between Squire Trelawney’s daughter Jennifer and Jim Hawkins.

Join them from December 2-4 at 7.30pm at the Corran Halls. There is also a matinee performance on Saturday December 4 at 2pm. Children are welcome to dress up to really get into the panto spirit.

The family-friendly production is bursting with larger-than-life characters and hi-jinks, plus lots of local faces.

Stephen Day explained: ‘It’s been a very different process this year with Covid-restrictions in the rehearsal room and compressed timescales, but the cast and crew have pulled together and are making the final preparations to bring the joy of live theatre back to Oban.’

Tickets are on sale now from the Corran Halls Box Office on 01631 567333. For more information visit www.spotlightmtg.co.uk/tickets