Full disclosure here, I am not normally a panto person. I always found the humour a bit ‘silly’ so my three poor children had a ‘deprived’ childhood. Oops, I hope they forgive me because I went to the opening night of Bridlington Spa’s panto and had a blast.
Jack and the Beanstalk was beautifully produced and is the familiar story of the family who have to sell their dairy cow, and the hapless son is tricked into accepting some beans for her. The beans are thrown out and grown overnight (magically) into a huge beanstalk. Atop the beanstalk is a terrible giant who terrorises the village by way of his henchman ‘Fleshcreep ‘ who was brilliantly over acted by Alexander Lee. The giant kidnaps the Princess and Jack and the rest of the cast all go up the beanstalk to rescue her and defeat the giant Blunderbore played by Christopher Withmore.
The production starred Marina Sirtis as the Empathetic Fairy. She starred in Star Treck so be prepared for lots of Star Trek, Klingons, Enterprise and Beam me up jokes.
Jack was played by Aaron Steadman who had to prove himself worthy of the hand of his beloved Princess Amelia played by Lucy Edge (a veteran of panto yet still so young). Jack and Amelia sang beautifully and were the perfect romantic interest.
Jack’s brother, Simon was played by Lloyd Warbey who children will know from Art Attack. He was superb in this role. Funny, a bit daft and great at ad libbing. (I was there for the opening night). He interacted with the kids in the audience and the local dancers on stage.
Princess Amelia’s father was played by John Lyons who is known best for appearances in A Touch of Frost (his pension with all the repeats as he jokes with the audience.
The star of the show for me had to be Andre Vincent playing Jack and Simon’s mother, Dame Trott. A perfect dame, flirty, a bit rude, outrageous costumes and a great rapport with the audience. One child further back kept shouting out and Dame Trott interacted with the child brilliantly.
In the end of course, the giant is defeated, Fleshcreep reformed and Jack and the Princess can marry. So too can Dame Trott and the King.
This is a production for both children and adults (I never realised that groups of adults went to panto together). There are jokes which go right over the children’s heads which the adults got, yet there was plenty there for the children to shout back at in the usual panto style.
Finally, I must mention the young dancers from the local school in Bridlington, (Collette Tyler School of Dance) They supplied the able senior girls as dancers and villagers and their younger troupe of dancers too. There were lots of costume changes for them and they were on and off stage all evening. They were happy and in the main, were well rehearsed. It’s great to see youngsters learning stagecraft from the Professionals.
Will I go to panto again? Oh yes, I will and I will have a great time.
The show runs until 6th January with tickets from £16.50. Don’t miss it.