Jack and Jill & The Beanstalk by Craig Hewlett

Date 20th January 2018
Society Woodchurch Players
Venue Woodchurch Memorial Hall
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Emma Priest
Musical Director Mike Headling
Choreographer Kim Parmee, Melody Liy-Rose and Dawn O'Bryan


Author: Anne Lawson

Nick Jones organised Front of House, whilst Philippa Jones peddled sweets later to be replaced by ice creams. We commenced with the tinkle of fairy stardust and prologue with Kerry Huggett dressed in her beautiful gold and purple ‘Rocher’ costume complete with cap and wonderful wand. Serenely laid back with her gentle script in rhyme she introduced the story.

Jack and Richard’s Mother Dame Dolly Mixtures cannot pay the rent due to evil Squire Sir Nicholas, so must sell Daisy the lovable camel. With well synchronised feet Dylan O’Bryan and Rowan Fenton moved adeptly around the stage. With black/white striped tops black trousers and masks, comedy pair con-men Robin and Conrad competently played by young Anna Hinson and Daisy Fermor both experienced ‘pantomimers’ sell Jack some magic beans. These flourish and Jack climbs to the land of the Giant, who he fights and steals the Golden Hen, Charlotte Stevens, who lays perfectly formed gold eggs and becomes rich.  Richard Fair - Dame Hyacinth last year - became Baddy Sir Nick with a wonderful extended nose in tweed garb, kidnaps poor Jill, delightfully dressed in green check played by Maddy George – her first main role. The giant becomes Mini Giant played by young Grace Woolard with Sir Nick becoming Mini Nick, with Jacob Eldridge in the Squire’s mini garb even with the nose extension very amusing too, girl gets boy, and everyone lives happily ever after in pantomime land. 

The opening chorus was loud and clear, movement slick and the young juniors and babes well groomed – perfect plaiting with the young men dapper. Good use of down stage with entrances and exits slick and comedy lines delivered well. Credit to props and scenery team Nicola Davy, Richard and Gaety Fair – so many constructed - what a huge golden guitar and giant sword. A little cottage with netted window and front door, behind well painted village backdrop complete with river running by. Very good Dolly’s diner, again attention to detail. I loved the giant effects – the eye appearing through the window, a huge hand, and very large feet commendable. Special reference to the twinkling lights on the pre-set barrel, when watered magic beans immediately rose and grew and grew!  All the work of green fingered Les Fenton. Techy team Tim Nolan, Rocket Wady and Elliott Gannon as usual created their magic using lovely colour lighting effects, laser, noises off and music and of course the Giant’s voice!  The backstage crew kept a tight ship with Nicola Davy SM ensuring smooth running scenes. 

Emily Perrian, as Principal Boy Jack complemented Jill as they sang together. Another good match was Jill’s sister Gemima -  great comedy part for Lynne Andrews who chased Jack’s brother Richard played by Max Williams rising from the pirate ranks - until giving in to her wiles Ben Vincer adapted to a splendid Dame Dolly – somewhat different from his last panto role King Rat! Good makeup, a wardrobe of outrageous frocks and hairdo. Ann Tiplady and helpers once more provided first-class costumes. Lots of fun and laughter throughout, a good sing-along to Daisy Daisy and the audience children loved the sweet bags.

Emma Priest once again directed competently with choreography devised by Kim Parmee and assistants, executed with confidence, musical numbers well chosen, clear, concise, and well-rehearsed, with Mike Headling as MD. The young members made excellent dancing skeletons and the three young Police officers were commendable - namely Amelia Bundock, Tatjana Burr and Jacob Morse. The whole cast and those behind the scenes, including Chaperones contributed to put on a most professional panto.