JACK AND THE BEANSTALK
Runs: 2h 25m, one interval, till Sunday 1 February
Review: Alexander Ray Edser, 23 12 14
Magical, fun-packed spectacular
The Qdos pantomimes at the Hippodrome just seem to get better and better. This year’s seasonal offer, JACK AND THE BEANSTALK is truly spectacular. From the first appearance of the Villain and the Enchantress to the final walk-down the pace and comedy never let up; we are swept along on a giant wave of inspired dottiness.
Gary Wilmot (Dame Trot), Paul Zerdin (Simple Simon) and Matt Slack (Silly Billy) were together at the Hippodrome last year; they work brilliantly together. Duncan James (Jack) completes the family quartet, and when they are all together comedy fireworks crackle. There’s a wonderful bedtime sequence; perfectly gauged childlike humour. These are fine individual performers too, the show offering them chance to delight us. Whether it’s Zerdin (a brilliant ventriloquist) with his very naughty Sam, Slack with his zany physical comedy or Wilmot with his verbal gymnastics it is laugh-a-minute entertainment.
Jane McDonald is a wonderfully down-to-earth Enchantress and Chris Gascoyne delightfully wicked as Fleshcreep.
Pantomime is also about the spectacle. JACK AND THE BEANSTALK delights in its own theatricality. Theatre magic is unashamedly celebrated, thrilling young and old alike – growing beanstalks, giants, a helicopter and awesome 3D. There is also a charming pantomime cow and an array of farmyard animals who have a song and dance of their own.
Ensemble singing and dancing are sharp. The showstopper number this year is an hilarious take on The Twelve Days of Christmas. It had us on our feet.
And the best bit of all? Sitting among some 2000 people all having a brilliant time – it’s truly a magical feeling.
The Enchantress: Jane McDonald
Jack Trot: Duncan James
Fleshcreep: Chris Gascoyne
Dame Trot: Gary Wilmot
Simple Simon: Paul Zerdin
Silly Billy: Matt Clack
Princess Apricot: Robyn Mellor
Ensemble: Miles Barrow, Lavinia Fitzpatrick, Freya Rowley, Anthony Selwyn, Natasha Volley, Dale White, Charlotte Wilmott, Elliesha Wiltshire, Jermaine Woods, The Birmingham Stage School
Director: Michael Harrison
Choreographer: Drew McOnie
Associate Director: Tom O’Connell
Musical Supervisor: Gary Hind
Set Design: Ian Westbrook
Lighting Design: Ben Cracknell
Sound Design: Gareth Owen
Visual Special Effects: The Twins FX
3D Effects: Whjizzbang3D