Jack & the Beanstalk

Date 7th January 2022
Society Chrysanthemums Pantomimes
Venue Floral Pavilion
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Julie Delaney & Graham Leigh
Musical Director Norman Scott
Choreographer Rebecca Gardner
Producer Julie Delaney & Graham Leigh
Written By Graham Leigh & Charlie Delaney


Author: Joanne Rymer

It’s so good to have them back! Boy did we miss them. This is a cast which gells perfectly, full of energy and fun with just a touch of the anarchy which makes panto so different from other theatrical forms. This Chrysanths Pantomime is exactly what you expect, corny jokes, near the knuckle gags, fart jokes, slapstick and great music! This wonderful pantomime ticked every box - audience participation, a terrific cast that share their joy of being on stage. The tone for the whole panto is set by the opening number with more than forty young dancers on stage which says loud and clear that this is a show that means business. What a wonderful welcome back to live performance from the members of Barbara Roberts School of Dance. Congratulations Rebecca Gardner and Grace Ferguson for imaginative choreography throughout the production. Good job. The small but talented band directed by Norman Scott was perfect, never overwhelming the performers.

It’s a fairly well-known fact that the Dame is the real star of the pantomime and the performance as Dame Sprout from Terry Davies is further evidence to this. His skilful encouragement of audience participation and his comedic timing was a pleasure to watch. Leanne Burgess as Evil-Lyn also gave an outstanding performance as Giant Blunderbore’s evil sister, the booing and hissing from an audience of five hundred school children drowned her every entrance. Magical. Where there is evil there is good - Fairy, Maria Larkin gave a charming, gracious commanding performance.  Maria is a great role model for her daughter Dempsey who is one of young talented dancers. Lovely performance, Maria

The plot is a tad different, thanks to Graham Leigh and Charlie Delaney, to what you might remember; Jack; Charlie Delaney lives with his mother Dame Sprout, his brothers Will; Laura Jackson and Simple Simon; Stevie Rooke. They owe rent and taxes on their Bakery business. To make matters worse, the King keeps increasing their rent to appease the Giant who demands more and more gold. The booming voice of Giant Blunderbore, expertly played by Dave Alcock resonates throughout (voiceover). The King played with great humour by stalwart Phil Gilroy, sets a challenge: whoever rids him of the Giant will marry his daughter plus governance of half the kingdom. The king suspects that Giant Blunderbore will kidnap his daughter Princess Marigold, charmingly played by Jessica Nixon. Jack meets Marigold thinking she is a girl from the village, he is instantly in love.

To retrieve the money owed the King despatches his bailiffs, Prowler and Scowler to the bakery, played by two Chrysanths audience favourites, Graham Leigh and Jed Flowerday. Two very talented, experienced actors - think of Morecambe and Wise!! The slapstick exchange involving the ownership of a significant black bag between Dame Sprout, Scowler and Prowler is hilarious. Congratulations. Jack and Wills duet ‘If I didn’t have you’ was beautifully delivered.

At the behest of his mother, Jack is sent off to market to sell the family cow Daisy “tell them she’s a vegan and a baker, she’ll fetch more” great line from Dame Sprout. Daisy is a star, she really can dance, fabulous chemistry with Jack, Will and Simple Simon. Totally adorable the audience loved her. Allison Foord is the front: Freya Barnes is the back; they were marvellous, an expressive tip of the head, movement of the legs, brilliant we just wanted to pick her up and take her home. On the way to market Jack meets Marigold once again, her true identity is revealed

The market is full of life lots of excitement and laughter, a fun routine from the dancers gave a celebratory mood, reinforced by the colourful costumes. Praise once again to the Chrysanths costume coordinator Sheila Weaver, her team led by the legendary Thelma Warrington ably supported by Ann Williams and Jenny Platt a really professional job ladies. As for the voiceover auctioneer a real master stroke, worked really well.

Now, of course, the cow is an intrinsic part of the show. Jack thinks he’s getting a big bag of gold in return for her but he is duped by the wicked Evil-Lyn and only gets a handful of beans; much to his mother’s dismay, who throws them out of her window. They awake to discover a bean stalk winding its way to the Giants Castle. Evil-Lyn casts her spell and kidnaps the Princess. However with the help of Fairy and the magic beans, Jack has a chance to save his home, his love and his cow Daisy! He climbs the beanstalk. Praise has to go to the scenic design team, Jed Flowerday, Sherry Green and Phil Rochford for the impact of an amazing beanstalk.

He’s behind you!! Wonderful classic panto scene ‘Whose afraid of the Snowman Ghost’, a truly traditional audience involvement routine. Classic

Fe-Fi-Fo-Fum - we meet Giant Blunderbore, what an entrance, what a costume WOW. The five hundred children in the audience were wowed too. Dave Alcock did an incredible job manoeuvring his eight foot tall oversized headed costume around the stage. Reminiscent of the Masked Dancer: Not an easy task, a truly fine performance.

Jack locates Marigold, who is kept under lock and key, lovely delivery of ‘Will you take me Home’. Jack foils the Giant in a riddle challenge and escapes down the stalk, much to the fury of Evil-Lyn, whose rendition of ‘Bat out of Hell’ is fabulous, a show highlight for me. Jack chops down the beanstalk with his sword, well done again scenic crew, perfect.

It’s compulsory for every Pantomime to have a happy ending, this is no exception, Jack and Marigold decide to marry, and the entire village is invited.

Great Chrysanths finale - everyone on stage to celebrate a charming production its exemplary cast, and is a magical afternoon full of festive fun.

And of course their anthem ‘This Time Next Year’

Thank you for a very traditional panto it was a blast.

Joanne Rymer