Christmas is my favourite time of year, and the festive panto comes hand in hand with the Christmas celebrations for most people. This year, for me, it was the turn of Jack and the Beanstalk at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham. Always a big name draw, this year’s billing included: Tony Maudsley (of TV’s Benidorm fame) in his pantomime debut as Dame Trot, former X Factor contestant Chico as our heroic main character Jack and childhood favourite’s The Chuckle Brothers starring as Jack’s bumbling brothers.
The show begins and it isn’t long before we’re introduced to an inappropriately-dressed-for-winter Dame Trot, who has just returned from her holidays in…you guessed it…Benidorm! Wearing gaudy skintight hotpants with a flamenco style train, the Dame introduces us to her home town of Tiddling-on-the-Trent. The Dame’s outfits were as outrageous as her double entendre’s, raising shrieks of laughter from the audience, mainly the adults who ‘got’ the joke. And of course, no pantomime would be complete without the subtle (or not-so-subtle) digs at the local area and football teams.
Chico enjoyed his stage time with his performance of his hit song ‘It’s Chico Time’, people loved it, they all knew it even if they pretended they didn’t. His bedtime changing routine was one for the ladies, which thankfully seemed to go over the head of the young ones.
The Chuckle Brothers owned the stage every moment they were on it, from their opening stint sharing their ‘surprise presents’ to their X-Factor style singing sketch, they were laugh-out-loud hilarious. In fact, I was laughing very much out loud and got a couple of funny looks! Just be prepared, if you are in the stalls, to maybe not leave as clean as when you walked in. They were, and always will be, a firm fan favourite…especially of mine and it made my childhood dream come true to see them so close up! #bigkid
Full of the usual fluffy pantomime characters, Princess Apricot (Gemma Buckingham) and the Spirit of the Beans fairy (Sarah Earnshaw), you can’t fail to enjoy this fantastic family spectacular. Whilst in Jack and the Beanstalk the villain is of course the Giant, I don’t think he could fit on stage, so he sent the suitably nasty Fleshcreep (Daniel Boys), to do his bidding. The audience were very adept at booing his mere presence.
The 3D show in Act Two was amazing to watch and very effective, from what I could gather with the screams around me. A word of warning though, younger children may be a little frightened of some of the 3D effects and the booming, sinister voice of the giant.
There was a slight twist on the part where they get audience participants on stage and give them a goody bag, I will leave that a surprise for you to see for yourself, as The Chuckle Brothers are involved in that particular part, I guarantee you will be laughing.
Every aspect of this show was enjoyable and a visual feast, the set itself was very impressive and you can tell a lot of thought, time and effort has gone in to make it look as wonderful as it does. All of the dancers/ensemble were mesmerising to watch, including the little ones who all got a big cheer at the end.
There is still a lot of time (it’s on until 15th January 2017) to go and see Jack and the Beanstalk, whether you go and see it before Christmas to get you into the festive spirit or during January to cure your January blues, you should catch this fun, frolic-filled festive pantomime before its end. I even may go again!
Christmas spirit 100%
Review : Jack and the Beanstalk , Theatre Royal Nottingham 11.12.16
Picture Credit : Shawn Ryan