Blue Peter legend Peter Duncan has signed deals with UK cinema chains Everyman and Showcase to give a cinema release to his socially distanced online pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk.
When theatres across the UK closed and hundreds of pantomimes were cancelled due to the pandemic, Duncan, a critically acclaimed panto dame, writer and director, conceived Jack and the Beanstalk as an online alterative to be downloaded by families to watch together at home over Christmas.
The film has impressed UK cinemas chains and it will now get a VIP red carpet premiere at the Everyman Cinema in Crystal Palace at the beginning of December, then roll out to all Everyman cinemas on December 4, followed by Showcase and Showcase Cinema De Luxe cinemas on December 11.
Peter Duncan said: “This really does feel like a fairy tale ending – and I have to pinch myself that our little film is going to end up being screened at 55 cinemas across the UK. When I had the initial idea for Panto Online, I naively though we might shoot a traditional panto guerilla-style on mobile phones, but that evolved and was upscaled as I recruited the cast and
production team – who were all friends and colleagues I’d worked with before on other projects. I’m thrilled that it gave work to 35 unemployed actors and freelance creatives. We are now rushing to finish all post-production work to ensure ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ is a wonderful cinema treat for those who prefer a group outing to join in the boos, cheers, shouts of ‘he’s behind yous’, a sing-a-long song and all the classic panto antics that families normally love in a theatre setting. There may be no 007 and Christmas may have been cancelled by all the studio blockbusters, but ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ is coming to a cinema near you to cheer us all up. Oh, yes it is!”
Paul Wise of Everyman Cinemas said: “When Peter came to us and showed the rough cuts of his work, I was so enthralled we decided to come on board as co-producers. What the country needs right now is a great panto, with a positive story, full of laughter and the hope of a vaccine. It looks like we have both.”
Jack and the Beanstalk is a planet-saving pantomime packed with topical references, songs, laughter and great special effects for all the family. Giant Blunbelow) derbore is in a terrible rage. He shouts from above threatening to eat any villager who won’t pay their rent. Poor Dame Trott has to sell her precious cow ‘Buttercup’ and sends her son Jack to the cow market.
All he comes back with is a worthless bag of beans. Jill, the grumpy Squire’s daughter is kidnapped by the Giants personal chef, Fleshcreepy and taken to the castle in the clouds, which is actually in the neighbours garden. Will Jack be the hero, climb the beanstalk, rescue his girlfriend and save the world from the human chomping ogre. Only the magical Garden Fairy knows the answer to that….
The production will be supporting six fantastic charities and youth projects: POhWer (www.pohwer.net), Clothe Me – Thank you (www.clothingcollective.org), British Youth Music Theatre (britishyouthmusictheatre.org), Prost8 (www.prost8.org.uk), Scouts (www.scouts.org.uk) and Best Beginnings (www.bestbeginings.org.uk).