NIALL ADAMS reviews ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ at the Greenwich Theatre
Pantomime. One of the oldest theatre traditions. Every year hundreds flood the stage; many not so good, but some fantastic. Thankfully, Greenwich Theatre’s latest offering falls into the latter camp, delivering a hysterical evening for both young and old.
Being based on the classic fairytale, there isn’t much need for a long synopsis. The village of Greenwich, led by the ingeniously named ‘Mayor Boris’ with a proclivity for transport schemes, is terrorised by ‘Giant Bonecrunch’ and his demand for increasingly high taxes. Our titular hero must learn to “let it go” (there really is no escaping Disney’s song of the year), face his destiny and save his town from the Giant – all whilst winning the hand of Jill, of course.
The entire cast perform remarkably and with boundless energy. Through songs, slapstick and fantastical battles, exhilaration and exuberance shines through. As with any panto the real star is not the hero, but the Dame (in this case Jack’s mother). Andrew Pollard is hilarious as ‘Widow Trott’ providing physical comedy for the children, but a surprising amount of bawdy humour for the older members of the audience. In fact, the whole cast has wonderful comic timing throughout the show.
Puppetry is employed throughout for several characters, but none is more impressive than the Giant. Towering above the stage, the puppet is genuinely terrifying and performed with admirable skill. Likewise, the production’s sets and costumes are all wonderfully outlandish and well-conceived. The only real disappointment in the show are some clunky transitions between sets and scenes, but this is a minor quibble.
In short, ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ is a wonderful show for all-ages. Hilarious throughout and perfect for the whole family.
‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ is running at the Greenwich Theatre until the 11th January. For tickets and more information click here (http://www.greenwichtheatre.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1583:jack-and-the-beanstalk&catid=7:playingnow&Itemid=1).
Images attributed to Robert Day