Pantomime season has rolled around again along with its Dames, thinly veiled innuendos and a chorus of ‘oh no he didn’t’ ‘oh yes he did’s’. Pantomime is traditionally based on well-known fairy tales, folk tales and fables and who among us doesn’t know the story of Jack and the Beanstalk? This time to be more precise it’s Jack and the Beanstalk: The Rock n’ Roll Panto written by Peter Rowe and performed for the first time ever at the New Wolsey Theatre. Directed by Kate Golledge this delightful romp promises fun for all the family.
The plot is a tad different to what you might remember, Jack (Neil Urquhart) is engaged to Jill (Daniella Piper), the daughter of Squire Snuffbox (Daniel Carter-Hope). The problem is Jack and his mother Dame Dolly Durden (Steve Simmons) owe rent to Squire Snuffbox who is threatening not only Jack and Jill’s relationship but also the mother and son’s home! What’s more Giant Blunderbore (Joe Butcher) and Fleshcreep (Nicola Bryan), the giant’s evil sidekick are causing havoc across the land. But with the help of Fairy Aubergine (Natasha Magigi) and some magic beans, Jack has a chance to save his home, his love and his cow Bessie!
A good pantomime should be able to engage people of all ages however there is something to be said for knowing your audience and tailoring your work to them. Jack and the Beanstalk: The Rock n’ Roll Panto is certainly a pantomime specifically for ‘mum, dad and the kids’, although I’m sure you can throw in some extended family into the mix. In addition, the effort made so that the production is available for live streaming is amazing and should be adopted by more theatres around the country.
It’s a fairly well-known fact that the Dame is the real star of the pantomime and Steve Simmons performance as Dame Dolly Durden is further evidence to this. His skillful encouragement of audience participation and his comedic timing was a pleasure to watch. Nicola Bryan as Fleshcreep also stood out from the crowd as did James Haggie as the hapless Billy.
All in all Jack and the Beanstalk: The Rock n’ Roll Panto is perfect for the family, who wants to spend a chilly winter evening being warmed by the theatre lights. With a mix of the catchiest classic rock and pop songs, you’ll be guaranteed to be dancing in your seats by the time the final curtain comes down.
Jack and the Beanstalk: The Rock n’ Roll Panto is at New Wolsey Theatre until 8th January 2022.