Jack and the Beanstalk

Date 9th December 2016
Society Riverside Musical Theatre Company
Venue Park View Theatre, Chester-le-street
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Sheila Rouse
Musical Director Christopher Watson
Choreographer Sheila Rouse


Author: Michelle Coulson

For this year’s seasonal offering Riverside had chosen the traditional tale of Jack and the Beanstalk, telling of how Jack, after selling the family’s cow, defeats a giant and saves the princess!

The cast were well dressed and there was good musical support from the band and a wide range of musical taste catered for.

The village of “Much Rhyming” was inhabited by a collection of nursery rhyme characters including Tommy Tucker (Sarah Hamblett) and Mary Mary (Dennise Clasper) who led the chorus in a rousing opening number. Nick Bevan as Old King Cole and Eve Brownlee as Princess Felicia gave good solid performances as did David Patrick doing very well manoeuvring the giant’s costume. The tap dancing cow Gertie was very well played by Marie Skipsey & Kathy Bevan, giving the panto animal lots of personality. The children’s chorus were endearing and there was good singing and movement from the ensemble, everyone smiling and looking like they were enjoying being part of the production.

As Simple Simon, David Brown engaged well with the audience and had some enjoyable comedy moments in the scenes with the dame. Jessica Edmondson as the Crystal Fairy looked good and had lots of personality and was the perfect foil for the Duke of Malevolence played with panache by Peter Johnson. Delivery of libretto which is written in rhyme is very difficult to make interesting but Pete did this perfectly and had an excellent connection with the audience. In the title role of Jack, Catherine Hillam was in the majority of the musical numbers and scenes; she gave a confident performance and provided a strong link throughout the production.

Riverside MTC was faced with a huge problem on the second night of their panto run as they were left without a dame! With only two hours’ notice Lee Brannigan, who was in rehearsal for his own professional panto, picked up the call for help and saved the show. Lee hardly made any reference to the script, which was safely in “Dame Durden’s” handbag, and gave a superb performance adding his own comedy style. He was hilarious and every credit to him for supporting the society in this way, this was camaraderie in amateur theatre at its best, well done!