Theatre bosses face a frantic race against time to re-open the iconic Gaiety.
Construction teams are battling around the clock in a bid to bring the curtain up on Tuesday.
But venue chiefs have been forced to admit parts of the theatre resemble “a building site”.
And Vince Hope, executive director of the Gaiety Partnership, confessed: “There’s a lot of work still to do.”
Vital running repairs are under way just days before the opening of this year’s panto, Cinderella.
But the Post understands large parts of the famous auditorium, which was closed almost four years ago, have been left untouched.
One Gaiety source said: “The seats are in the same condition as when the building closed and there’s been little to no painting done inside the theatre.
“I think a lot of people are expecting to walk through the door and see an all-singing all-dancing Gaiety, but nothing has really changed.”
Work has focused on backstage and front of house areas, and Mr Hope admits the public won’t notice a great difference when they take their seats. That’s despite South Ayrshire councillors closing the theatre after being told it needed more than £4 million spent on it.
But Mr Hope revealed: “We’ve come into this project with a fresh set of eyes and lots of ideas about making the Gaiety work.
“It’s not for me to comment on decisions made in the past. What I will say is our plans are long term – we never tried to portray this would be a refurbished theatre for the panto.
“If people have got that impression then it’s nothing more than tittle tattle on the street.” But he admitted: “The problem is people are walking past the theatre and seeing a bit of a building site. It’s not ideal but we’re working within our timescale and are on course to make showtime.”
However, he confessed the building is still to obtain its relevant safety completion certificates. And both the upstairs balcony seating and circle bar will be out of use during the panto due to health and safety restrictions.
Strong ticket sales for the Gaiety’s comeback panto season have created a buzz around the town. And theatre chiefs know the pressure is on to have the venue ready.
Partnership chair, Ian Welsh, added: “We’ve still got a little way to go before everything’s finished, but that’s exactly as we expected at this stage.
“This is the start of a new era at the Gaiety.”