Jack & the Beanstalk

Date 16th February 2022
Society Dodleston Youth Players
Venue Dodelston Village Hall
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Sue Ramsey
Musical Director Mary Brierly
Choreographer Joanne Robertson & Sue Ramsey
Producer Sue Ramsey
Written By Rob Fearn & Leo Appleton

Report

Author: Joanne Rymer

Dodleston Youth Players

Jack and the Beanstalk

16/2/22

There is always excitement on an opening night for any production, tonight at Dodleston Village hall was no exception. Proud parents, grandparents, families, excited young faces all gathered to support their siblings in this true community pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk.  What a wonderful welcome back to live performance this was, as a stage full of talented young people sang ‘Oh What a Beautiful Morning’ with great enthusiasm.

It’s a fairly well-known fact that the Dame is the real star of a pantomime and the performance as Mother Betty Bitsnbobs from Gordon Robertson is further evidence to this.  His attempt to make cheese to feed the starving people of Poverty was a constant theme throughout, it being a plastic bucket placed downstage right on the stage, which we were all told to shout out loud when anyone went near to it. His continued encouragement for audience participation was to be commended, especially when experiencing opening night gremlins. A big thank you goes to Marion Murdoch, who was a very supportive Prompt. He introduced us to the villagers of Poverty played by Alex Robinson and Amber Mulholland, who are kept poor by Squire Root, played with gusto by stalwart Mike Dix, whose daughter Jill disappeared many years before. Everyone loves to Boo & Hiss the panto villain, the Dodleston audience needed little persuasion they really went for it every time he appeared. Great stuff

We are transported to Fairyland, where we meet Fairy, a larger than life character played magnificently by Glen Mulholland. His brief rendition of ‘We’ll Meet Again’ was well delivered. Fairy tells the tale of the giant, the goose that lays golden eggs, and a stolen magical harp. Great stage presence, Glen. Enjoyed your performance

Mother Betty Bitsnbobs has two sons, Jack played by Joanne Robertson, and Simon played by Isabella Grattan, two talented actors, who fed off each other wonderfully.  Jack sings ‘Food Glorious Food’ ably supported by the full chorus. Great performances here, well done.

The plot is a tad different to what you may remember, thanks to Rob Fearn & Leo Appleton’s script being provided by NODA Pantomimes. Simon is a futuristic thinker frequently describing items yet to be invented!! A very clever and funny twist to this tale, as Simon produces an automatic chain saw to cut down the beanstalk: but that’s jumping ahead.  Isabella plays this part with humour and intelligence a talented young lady.  Jack tells us all that his brother ‘says very strange things

However there is no Jack and the Beanstalk without Daisy the cow, played beautifully by Ann McKeown and Steven Hughes. Mother Betty insists Daisy has to be sold so Jack and Simon take off for market. On the road Jack & Simon meet the Fairy, who purchases Daisy for a handful of beans. Mother Betty is unimpressed with her boys, throwing away the beans.

The following morning the village awakes to see a huge beanstalk reaching high into the clouds; Jack proceeds to climb to reach the Giants Castle. The stage is once again home to the young people whose dance routine to ‘Reach for the Star’ was full of fun.

My compliments to the set design, scenery, lights and sound which were spot on, the scene changes were timely and seamless. What you do with what is a very restricted space is nothing short of miraculous. Well done Roger Higginson, Gordon Peterson, Richard Kitchin, Richard Hulmston, Lorraine Black and Lucy Marsh. Praise also for the costumes, Mother Betty, and Wife especially priceless, the dapper Squire Root and the wonderful Fairy. Marvellous work Elaine Porter & Margaret Lloyd.

On reaching the end of the beanstalk Jack discovers Jill has been kept caged at the Giants Castle all this time, he promises to return to save her. Jill ably played by Jen Barnett, sang ‘I Had a Dream ‘beautifully, extremely well done.

Mother Betty, Simon and the full chorus with ‘A Little bit of Luck’ take us once again to the village square. I would like to mention the Musical Director Mary Brierley and the choreography of Sue Ramsey and Joanne Robertson, congratulations on a fine production. The song and dance routine Cheese was masterful, full marks to Mother Betty & Squire Root.

Jack returns to the Castle is captured by the Giants guards, On Guard, Gabrielle Phillips, and Right Guard Karen Welsh (who was standing in for Denise Ward) He encounters the three blind mice, Lauren Preston, Sasha Bates and Ellen Barnett: this is a comic masterpiece girls well done you were superb. I loved’ He loves me/ she loves you’ sung with Jill. Stars in the making

The Giant, Richard Kitchin: who we never see bellows his instructions to his wife. This voiceover is live and is cleverly done also extremely funny, full marks Richard.

Wife, to me was outstanding. Karen Woodworth take a bow, hilarious, feisty performance, cheeky reference to Tinder… ‘The Boy Does Nothing’ superbly delivered the performance of the night for me. Loved it

Now as you know it is compulsory that pantomimes have a happy ending. Jack helped by Right Guard & On Guard releases Jill; they all get safely down the beanstalk with the goose and the magic harp. Daisy is back at home. Squire Root has his daughter home; Jack & Jill are in love. Will the Squire marry Mother Betty? Oh I nearly forgot Simon gets his automatic chainsaw and chops down the beanstalk. Priceless

 

Thank you Dodleston Youth Theatre for a wonderful opening night’s entertainment, you are a unique community driven society. Long may it continue?

 

Joanne Rymer

NODA

District 4