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Posted by : al_geary on Dec 18, 2017 - 10:32 AM Midlands


Palace Theatre: Tkts 01623 633133
Runs: 2h 20m: one interval: till 7th Jan.
Performance times: 10.30am 19th Dec, 12 noon 24th and 31st Dec, 1.00pm 8th Jan, 2.30pm most days, 5.00pm 7th Jan, 7.00pm most days. No performances on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
Signed Performances 10th Dec 7pm and 11th Dec 2.30pm.
Review: Alan Geary: 8th December 2017.

Sizzling entertainment for all ages.

Mansfield’s Palace Theatre invariably comes up with a super panto, and this year’s Jack and the Beanstalk is no exception. It’s sizzling entertainment for all ages.

There’s plenty of tight-packed quick-fire gaggery – especially in the first half it’s too tightly packed for comfort so it’s easy to miss a lot of it. But since it was originally written by Andrew Ryan, that old favourite gets its annual airing: Dame Trott was lost in the woods. “Did you see the gipsys’ camp?” someone asks her. “I thought they looked quite butch really” she replies.

But the real adult jokes are targeted nicely over the heads of the little ones.

Top laughter generator is Adam Moss, back for the second year running as Simple Simon. He it was who proposed (successfully as it turned out) to his girlfriend last year – live on this venue’s stage. And Dame Trott (Craig Ansell) is great fun. As is the bumbling but energetic King, brilliantly acted by Michael Chance. The evil Fleshcreep (who enjoys his booze) is an outstanding Mark Little, and the Vegetable Fairy a delightful Rebecca Wheatley.

Song and dance is as classy as ever. Jack (Bradley Judge) – all good looks and sleek-black hair – has a fine singing voice; so does Princess Jill (Clare Maynard) with her contrasting blonde hair. Their duet Maybe There’s Nothing Holding Me Back (?) is particularly fine. A new keyboard and drums duo led by George Strickland does splendid work – sound balance is right so we can hear the lyrics as well as the music.

It’s a visual feast. Costumes are spectacular; and attractive, especially in the final wedding scene. 3-D is used to great effect when Jack fights the giant; and in the ghoulie scene in the forest when everyone is frightened not just by one ghoulie but by a whole family of them, along with a host of spiders and assorted nasties.

Spectacular as it is, it might have better to focus on the traditional single ghoulie and leave the 3-D effects for another scene, but we do get a free shower during the confusion.

A pity that we don’t actually get to see the Giant, but as that terrible cliché goes, this panto really is fun for all the family.

Fleshcreep: Mark Little.
Simple Simon: Adam Moss.
Fairy: Rebecca Wheatley.
Dame Trott: Craig Ansell.
King: Michael Chance.
Jack: Bradley Judge.
Princess Jill: Clare Maynard.

Villagers: Harry Cooper Miller, Harry Lydon, Leia Bradley, Georgia Ellis, Libby McGarry and Jazmin Tennant.

Juveniles from The Christine March School of Dance and Syncopations.

Director: Anthony Williams.
Choreographer: Kirsty Sparks.
Musical Director: George Strickland.
Written by: Andrew Ryan.
Sound Designer: Kirk Jackson.
Lighting Designer: Dai Evans.
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