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Jack and the Beanstalk

Date

7th December 2017

Society

Fakenham & District Light Opera Society (FADLOS)

Venue

Fakenham Community Centre

Type of Production

Pantomime

Director

Alex Chidichimo and Tilly Baron

Musical Director

Jo Kemp

Choreographer

Tilly Baron

Report

Author: Sue Dupont

The 40th Anniversary Family Pantomime from FADLOS of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’, and what a great evening we all enjoyed in the packed auditorium.

FADLOS has this high reputation of giving the town a proper ‘family’ pantomime and is anticipated with eagerness each year before Christmas, and once again to high standard and all the ingredients required in this Norman Robbins script.   A change of directorial team this year to encourage and bring forward a different talented viewpoint but no deterioration in the product with again the traditional and family as key words for a quality show.  So Directors Alex Chidichimo and Tilly Baron, Musical Director Jo Kemp, and Choreographer Tilly Baron kept up the reputation of FADLOS with this huge cast.   A very colourful set and great costume plot feasted the eyes on the stage.

The Dame, as usual, stole the show, not only because of the ‘best dame ever’ performance that is enjoyed each year from Ben Francis, with timing and experience, and presence, and vocals, and movement, and interactions to cast and audience for participation, but also those fabulous costumes from the ‘Hudson studio’ with a different one for each appearance but especially those wigs/head-dresses which defy gravity and just suspend belief.

A large cast including the chorus from the Seniors as well as those from FADLOS KIDZ filled the stage, such energy into all the fast pace movement plus excellent projection and loud vocals, a really good company appeal and enthusiasm in the catchy numbers made one want to be a part of the action.

A delightful Fairy Thistledown, looked really good and stylish, with excellent projected diction and definitely a ‘feel good factor’.  In contrast Peter Blakeley’s Rancid was someone not to meet on a dark night and quite frightening for some of the younger audience.

How lovely to have such a delightful and well matched young duo, good voices and could dance, in Thomas Bailey as Jack Trot and Victoria Ferris as Princess Melissa, probably first time as leads but they showed their mettle with excellent performances and great for the future of the company.

And to the comedy side with Lucy Ferris as an energetic and hard-working Simple Simon, winding up the audience into action, and those guides were noisy, and generally keeping the pace up to speed.   In a totally contrasting role to her usual style, Paula Graver as a character King Hubert not only kept the story running of the impoverished village and the beanstalk adventure, but her comedy turns with the Dame were great and caused much mirth, she and Ben have worked together over the years and this rapport and intuition were special.

One should not forget a very important member of this traditional story, Daisy the cow looked delightful in style, and well worked by Harriet Baldock and Isabel Clements.

And to the brilliant innovation and surprise, how very clever to have the inflatable beanstalk just grow on stage, congratulations on that idea as very effective (and the deflation when chopped down).

Once again a great family entertainment enjoyed with noisy appreciation from all ages in the packed auditorium, keep up this great tradition.