Jack and the Beanstalk
30th December 2017
Type of Production
Author: Janet Elworthy
Sidmouth pantos are always great fun and this was no exception. Using a script by the excellent and popular writer Alan P. Frayn, the director made good use of the comedy and participation opportunities offered. Cast showed evidence of well-travelled rehearsal time, resulting in a slick, comical production with principal characters able to showcase their strongest stage qualities. Action was tightly presented with dialogue clear and expressive while still allowing the quintessential and much enjoyed ad-libs to flow at the appropriate times. Both acts were synonymous in their presentation and gusto but a slight disparagement between them in pace and enthusiasm, saw act two coming strongly out on top.
A particularly sweet Fairy Sugardust and sour witch, Picalilli, set the ball rolling on to a blaze of colour and a fine and dandy chorus whose performance of ‘Who will buy’ left a fully satisfied smile on the face. Jack and his Princess looked good as a couple and along with Simon bounced on to the stage, full of that youthful self-assurance which successfully builds a good rapport with the audience. As unsavoury as the name suggests, Rancid appeared to be (probably appropriately) wearing the dregs of the wig drawer! However, over time her appearance melted nicely into the character with the part played exceedingly well.
I’ve yet to see a character that Marc Colson cannot handle and as expected on this occasion Dame Dotty Dimple demonstrated excellent comic timing and a relaxed manner encouraging enjoyable audience interaction including a stampede of youngsters clamouring to have their two minutes of fame, all of whom were managed with ease and taken in his stride.
This pantomime was crammed full of the panto business audiences should ideally expect and enjoy, all crafted to a high standard. A colourful set and high quality costumes revealed eye-catching colour coordination. Lighting was complimentary to each scene including an enjoyable ‘strobed’ chase and a beautiful, realistic U.V piece. Sound was balanced and managed well with a supportive quartet of accomplished musicians who somehow produced a sound worthy of a band twice the size.
An exceptionally excellent choice and use of props and special effects brought a magical touch to the production. Large golden eggs, a rat that scarily, really did look the part along with a magnificent, animated giant whose demise saw him falling from a rope and consequently stretchered off to the sound of a siren, all huge fun! The finale brought high energy, full cast numbers that epitomised the phrase ‘going out with a bang’; this was feel good, family entertainment at its best.