JACK AND THE BEANSTALK.
Theatre Royal: Tkts 0115 989 5555 www.royalcentre-nottingham.co.uk.
Runs: 2h 15m: one interval: till 17th Jan.
Review: Alan Geary: 5th December 2009.
From curtain up almost to curtain call it’s a panto for everyone.
From curtain up almost to curtain call (see below) this was a panto for everyone except the tiniest of tinies. One little mite, frightened by Fleshcreep’s prologue, was carried out in the first few seconds but everyone else stayed put.
As Fleshcreep, our man in black, Nigel Havers was actually wonderful. He got lots of laughs arising from his supposed professional prickliness and his status as a “proper actor”.
Jack Trot, all gleaming teeth, was done by ventriloquist Paul Zerdin. As a ventriloquist he was light years away from “Gottle o’ geer” territory; there were some truly imaginative routines with his little friend Sam, who was one of the real stars of the show. Zerdin was also funny.
In the absence of a Fairy Godmother there was the addition of someone mysteriously called Mother Nature Since she was a stunning blonde lady and well played by the beautiful Emma Cannon there were no complaints. In fact, if you were a man in his sixties there was a lot not to complain about in this show. The Princess was the lovely Jenna Louise Coleman.
A sparkling script had not just the kiddies but intellectuals and strong men falling about with mirth. “Any more from you and you’re geography,” says Jack. “Don’t you mean history?” replies Fleshcreep. “Don’t change the subject,” says Jack. Earlier Dame Trott had asked “Do you like my outfit? It’s Armani – Salvation Armani!”
Andrew Ryan’s Dame Trott was brilliant. And it wasn’t just those outfits: her song and dance was excellent; especially in a lucre-themed medley with the boys beginning with We’re in the Money. In fact, song and dance from everyone was strong.
Special effect involving Blunderbore, beanstalks, and so on, were outstanding, and there was imaginative use of the auditorium.
Bawdiness was aimed neatly over the heads of the children, until, that is, near the end, when there was an extraordinarily tasteless and gratuitous barrage of jokes about homosexuality and crude marital sex which would have been picked up by an eight year old. This was a great pity.
There was no sweet-throwing and no messy scene, but in a two-and-a-quarter-hour show you can’t have everything. Some shamelessly unsubtle insurance advertising, complete with a working and talking model of that annoying dog, didn’t seem to matter over-much.
Fleshcreep: Nigel Havers.
Mother Nature: Emma Cannon.
Dame Trott: Andrew Ryan.
Jack Trott: Paul Zerdin.
King Crumble: Roy Sampson.
The Princess: Jenna Louise Coleman.
Daisy the Cow: Herself.
Giant Blunderbore: Himself.
Ensemble: Garry Clark, Marcus John Evans, Georgina Fisher, Sophie Gigg, Aaron Parker, Brett Shiels, Sophie Turner, Shona Williams.
Babes: The Theatre Royal Babes.
Director: Ed Curtis.
Set Designer: Hugh Durrant.
Lighting Design: Ben Cracknell.
Musical Director: Allan Rogers.
Choreographer: Steven Harris.