With many live pantomimes having to be cancelled due to the pandemic, Blue Peter legend Peter Duncan, has come to the rescue by filming a delightful production of Jack and the Beanstalk in his own back garden. This is a very special festive gift for Christmas.
Duncan’s original idea for this production online was to shoot a traditional panto guerilla-style on smart phones. However, this rudimentary idea was dismissed and the concept upscaled when a very technically savvy creative team was found.
When Duncan showed the rough cuts of his filmed panto to the executives of the Everyman and Showcase Cinemas, both the cinema chains were so impressed they decided to come on board. As a result Jack and the Beanstalk will be available over the Christmas period in a total of 55 UK cinemas.
Jack And the Beanstalk follows the fairytale of a young man who sells his mother’s cow for a seemingly worthless bag of beans. When the beans produce a giant beanstalk, he climbs it to rescue his girlfriend and save his village from the terror of Giant Blunderbore.
The biggest surprise about Duncan’s pantomime is how well it translates on the screen. It is beautifully shot in Duncan’s extensive back garden and feels immediately accessible to viewers.
The children watching are at once engaged as the charming garden faerie (Nicola Blackman) talks directly to the camera asking them to involve themselves in the story as garden gnomes. Contemporary references abound including a Lockdown song with a climate change theme, mention of Jack’s mother trying to survive on Universal Credit, and the endless corny gags even include toilet paper jokes.
As characters pop out from unruly undergrowth of plants, Duncan’s garden is imaginatively used as a setting, and a real tree is dressed up as the beanstalk. Stand out musical numbers include ‘Bubble and Squeak,’ ‘If I was not in Pantomime,’ and as Jack climbs the Beanstalk he sings Gustav Holst’s tune ‘I vow to thee my country,’ and replaces the patriotic lyrics with his own about equality and ridding the world of tyranny and greed.
Duncan as Dame Trott is well supported by a 35 strong ensemble cast. Nicola Blackman excels as the Garden Fairy, Jos Vantyler is suitably maleficentas Fleshcreepy, and the sweet voiced Sam Ebenezer is amiable as Jack Trott. Jack and the Beanstalk has been tightly co-written and directed by Peter Duncan and Ian Talbot.
Jack and the Beanstalk will be released December 4th at Everyman Cinemas and Saturday December 11th at Showcase Cinemas.
The film will also be available to stream online via www.pantoonline.co.uk December 4th 2020 to January 10th 2021 including family tickets and options for school groups, Scouts, Guides and care homes.
Profits from Panto Online will be supporting six charities and youth projects.