Thursday, February 29

Jack and the Beanstalk – Hope Street Theatre

Jack and the Beanstalk is an all singing, all dancing pantomime, full of Scouse humour, original and fun musical numbers and all of the interactive jokes that make pantomime a great festive experience for all of the family. Written by Christopher Jones and directed by John Garfield-Roberts, assisted by Kazia Cannon, this is a great pantomime to introduce children to the theatre or continue an existing festive tradition with children who are already familiar with the annual showcases.

The stage, with set design by Amy Le Dain, is outlined in bright green cheerful beanstalks and features a cute house that has been taken straight from a fairy tale. This is the home of Jack Trott (Joe Owens) and he, as Mother Nature (Lesley Butler) tells us, is the reluctant hero of our tale. Jack however is far more concerned with revealing a wonderful surprise to his girlfriend Jill (Alice Carlile) and avoiding his overbearing mother Dame Trott (Garfield-Roberts). But more importantly, the cost of living is rising quicker than an overnight beanstalk, and the terrifying giant, Blunderbore (voiced by Billy Butler) is demanding the rent is paid and neither Jack or his Mum have the money to do so.

Blunderbore’s ominous eyeball staring down at the stage creates a nice level of peril, while Liverpool treasure, Billy Butler’s voice talents create a sense of cosiness within the threat. Fleshcreep (Phil Perez), the giant’s assistant, does a good job of creating the villain persona and was enthusiastically booed by the excited children in the audience.

Jack’s naivety is nicely complemented by his brother, Silly Simon’s (Dean Raymond) antics and Raymond does an excellent job of keeping audience participation high. He is also a talented ventriloquist, and the show could expand on this skill even more having more appearances from his pet bird, and even further characters wouldn’t be out of place.

Garfield-Roberts is an excellent pantomime dame and has some great comical moments and fun interactions with the audience. The family performance of Twelve Days of Christmas is a fantastic highlight of the show and goes to show that nowhere in the theatre is safe from the hilarity of this panto show. Other musical moments in the show feature some great dancing by the junior ensemble, choreographed by Jenna Rushton. This is a high energy show which doesn’t drop for a second as Jack becomes determined to beat the fearsome giant and the horrible Fleshcreep.

Jack and the Beanstalk is an great pantomime which is fun for the whole family. Featuring just the right amount of peril, this wonderful fairy tale has something for everyone to enjoy. After theatres have struggled over the festive season for the last couple of years, the pantomime is back and children can once again be introduced to the wonders of theatre in a relaxed and interactive environment which will have families returning to theatres for years to come.

Jack and the Beanstalk is being performed at the Hope Street Theatre until 31st December 2022. Tickets are available here   

Reviewer: Donna M Day

Reviewed: 20th December 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★