JACK AND THE BEANSTALK.
Tkts 0115 989 5555 www.royalcentre-nottingham.co.uk.
Runs: 2h 20m: one interval: till 15th Jan.
Performance times: Varies, 1.30pm, 2.00pm, 2.30pm, 5.30pm, 7.15pm (check with box office).
Audio Described: 2.30pm 17th Dec and 1.30pm 8th Jan.
Sign Language Interpreted: 1.30pm 15th Dec, 1.30pm 18th Dec, 7.15pm 13th Jan.
Captioned Performance: 2.30pm 7th Jan.
Relaxed Performance: 1.30pm and 7.15pm 5th Jan.
Review: Alan Geary: 11th December 2016.
In a city well served for panto this one’s worth a look.
Jack and the Beanstalk at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal is an unselfish show: unlike previous years, no one act is allowed to dominate proceedings. That said, on press night, The Chuckle Brothers, as Jack Trot’s brothers Paul and Barry, went down a storm. As well as some quick-fire repartee, they are in charge of the statutory free shower to the front stalls, and lots of good-natured mickey-taking – Nottingham Forest, for instance, takes a slapping.
The Brothers also do a broken-down hypnotism scene, and an ace pie-in-face Goldilocks routine with three obliging men persuaded up from the audience.
Handsome hero Jack, who rescues Princess Apricot (Gemma Buckingham) from the Giant’s clutches and finally marries her, is Chico, well-known to television audiences. He does a good job, without managing to, or perhaps needing to, get beyond his small screen persona.
Mother of the three boys is Dame Trott. Since she’s played by Tony Maudsley (TV’s Kenneth du Beke), it’s reasonable that she should arrive by Squeazy Jet direct from Benidorm. Whip-carrying Fleshcreep (Daniel Boys), Giant Blunderbore’s chief henchman, is a super centre of nastiness.
His master is largely a creation of technology. There are brilliant 3D effects based on the castle; human skulls, spiders and other nasties leap out at us.
But technology is never allowed to get in the way of the traditional fare. Song and dance throughout is sharp and neat, though the songs are inappropriately American sounding, and often bland and indistinguishable from each other.
The best routine might be the one involving The Spirit of the Beans, a gorgeous fairy-godmother figure played by Sarah Earnshaw, and some butterflies. It’s done in the garden as the magic beanstalk starts to grow upwards into the clouds. Another excellent bit of hoofing is done in Blunderbore Castle by Fleshcreep and a leggily evil ensemble clad in black.
In a city well served for panto, this one’s worth a look.
Paul and Barry Trot: The Chuckle Brothers.
Dame Trot: Tony Maudsley.
Jack Trot: Chico.
Fleshcreep: Daniel Boys.
Spirit of the Beans: Sarah Earnshaw.
King Crumble: Paul Gabriel.
Princess Apricot: Gemma Buckingham.
Moomoo the Cow: Herself.
Giant Blunderbore: Himself.
Trot’s Dancers: Laura Ava-Scott, Josh Edgington, Ryan James, Hannah Faith Marram, Dean McCullough, Helen Penn, Anthony Starr and India Thornton.
Trot’s Babes: The Theatre Royal Babes.
Director: Ken Alexander.
Lighting Designer: Tim Oliver.
Sound Designer: Justin Teasdale:
Musical Director: Allan Rogers.
Choreographer: Paul Robinson.
Fight Director: Bret Yount.