reviewed at the Gordon Craig Theatre, Ipswich on 10 December
This Chris Jordan pantomime is a traditional one in many ways. There’s a Principal Boy as Jack (Lisa Mathieson) and a scene-stealing Dame Trott (Paul Laidlaw). The multi-named cow (Dulcie? Clarabelle? Daisy?) deserves a programme credit in her own right and the beanstalk is sufficiently spectacular.
Cliff Parisi’s Fleshcreep rather lets it all down. He doesn’t really convince as the villain – too prone to lollop on and off stage and Melanie Masson’s Fairy Fuschiaa too easily dominates him. Mathieson makes an attractive hero who deserves to win Victoria Farley’s Princess Jill.
Of the two main comics, Laidlaw has the audience in the palm of his hand from first entrance, and Aidan O’Neill’s Simple Simon doesn’t take long to recruit us all in his gang. Siôn Tudor Owen plays King Custard and Matt Lee-Steer doubles the Town Crier and the ferocious, ravening Giant Blunderbore.
The choreography of Ashley Glazebrook and Glen Murphy (aka Twist and Pulse) at times taxes the female dancers of the ensemble, though the men have some eye-riveting leaps and turns to compensate. James Cleeve’s band is ensconced at audience level stage left and the standard of singing throughout is good; Laidlaw’s farewell to her cow stills the house.
Three and a half-star rating.
Jack and the Beanstalk runs at the Gordon Craig Theatre until 28 January. Performance dates and times vary. Check with the theatre’s box office at :www.gordon-craig.co.uk for availability.