JACK AND THE BEANSTALK
by Andrew Ryan.
Palace Theatre: To 8 January 2012.
Runs 2hr 20min.
TICKETS: 01623 633133.
Review: Alan Geary: 9 December 2011.
A hundred and forty minutes of first-rate entertainment.
You have to hand it to Mansfield. When it comes to pantomime it delivers a success year after year. Jack and the Beanstalk at the Palace Theatre offers a hundred and forty minutes of first-rate entertainment for all.
Packed with variety, it manages to contain every traditional component you can think of, except the free shower scene with the hosepipe. The ghoulie routine is especially well done; so is a messy ice-cream pie-in-face scene, which includes the incompetent King (a strong performance from Michael Chance).
Sweet throwing – and most of the shameless advertising – is done by Dame Trott (Stephen David). He gives a smut-free performance that nevertheless incorporates some neat adult innuendo, though his costumes are less outlandish than is often the case.
Simple Simon is a chirpy Essex-sounding lad nicely played by Christopher Pizzey, who holds the whole evening together. He’s not so much your camply knowing gagster as a nice bloke. Daisy the Cow and the Giant are brilliantly done.
The whole thing’s despatched with plenty of attack. Music (Martyn St James, keyboards; Phil Johnson, drums) and words are perfectly balanced so the lyrics aren’t drowned-out by the band.
Song and dance is super. Jack (a smart, thigh-slapping performance from blonde Emma Nowell) and a more than usually feisty and interesting Princess (brunette Sheryl Lafferty) sing some excellent duets; and the Fairy (Martine McMenemy, with a Scottish accent and an impressive voice) and the boy dancers do a great number all in white.
It’s a visual delight. As well as the splendid scenery, the costumes are not just spectacular; they’re imaginative and clever; in that Giant’s kitchen routine led by the Princess for instance. And in an outstanding scene led by Fleshcreep (a stocky and evil Colin Baker) the dancers are as sexy as they’re evil. There’s a stunning set-piece scene at the end, which includes Fleshcreep, now partially rehabilitated, but excludes the Giant, now dead.
A packed house of tinies and not so tinies loved this show.
Simple Simon: Christopher Pizzey.
Jack: Emma Nowell.
Fleshcreep: Colin Baker.
Fairy: Martine McMenemy.
Dame Trott: Stephen David.
King: Michael Chance.
Princess: Sheryl Lafferty.
Villagers; Michael Porter, Ryan Douglas, Kate Hallam, Kirtsy Kirkland, Alice Kurylo and Lauren Siddall.
Children from Directions Theatre Arts and Syncopations School of Performing Arts.
Director: Julian Woolford.
Lighting: Dai Evans.
Sound: Kirk Jackson.
Musical Director: Martyn St James.
Choreographer: Ewan Jones.