Jack and the Beanstalk
Norwich Theatre Royal
The orchestra tuning up in the pit is a sound I had somehow forgotten. It sets the mood, calls stragglers at the bar to their seats and suddenly you realise that they have broken into the introduction and that the show has begun.
But how do you make Panto different? Well, turning Jack and the Beanstalk into a rootin’ tootin’ wild west musical based in Nodge City was an interesting twist, and one which worked well. The opening number comprising of a dance routine which included snippets from just about every cowboy song known to man!
Our fairy narrator, Dolly (Harriet Bunton) was resplendent in a sort of tutu come cow girl outfit, though I don’t recall ever seeing a cowgirl with fairy wings before. More importantly she flew, and if you want to produce a wow factor for young children then this is one sure way of doing it.
Jack (David Burilin) and Jolene (Mira Ormala) provided us with excellent duets and were, relatively speaking, the sensible ones – although Jack’s fit of the giggles had the audience in stitches, in part because his brother Billy (Ben Langley) hadn’t spotted it.
Qudos to Dame Nigella Trottalot (Richard Gauntlett) who, quite apart from cracking us up in her scenes with Billy also displayed a good arm and aim by getting packets of sweets deep into the circle. I will not divulge details of the Giant’s breakfast table scene… slapstick of the highest order and well worth going back for that scene alone, I have no doubt it changes from performance to performance!
And what of the evil, Phineas P Stinkworthy played by Wayne Sleep? Instantly reviled by the audience and exiting stage left and right amid the boos and hisses in a series of speedy pique turns, but then you’d expect that wouldn’t you? Not to mention a little tap routine to round things off – but only after Dolly had rid him of his evil ways.
The one character who stole the show for me was the little chicken. Despite the grief she got from Dame Trottalot she played her part to perfection.
Often modern pantomime or Christmas shows are played out to appease their adult audiences. This is truly a show for all the family. You can bring young children in the safe knowledge that they will be royally entertained, wowed and amazed. Let your inner child be entertained also this Christmas with a trip to Jack and the Beanstalk at Norwich Theatre Royal which runs until Sunday 15th January – click here to book tickets.