Jack and the Beanstalk | The Hawth Crawley
There are many ingredients that make up a perfect pantomime; an unlikely hero, a beautiful Princess, an evil baddie that we love to hate and a bloke in a frock, just to name just a few. Jack and the Beanstalk at the Hawth Crawley ticks all these boxes and many more!
Even though ‘Jack’ is quite a popular pantomime it was my first time seeing it and I was excited to imagine how they would create the necessary effects. Secure in the knowledge that the production was produced by pantomime experts Evolution Productions and with costume and set design by Helga Wood, I knew that it would be visually dazzling and a real feast for the eyes. I was not disappointed.
With a script (and terrible jokes) by Paul Hendy and direction by Ian Smith, the basic structure of the fairytale is there – Jack and his Mother sell their beloved cow for some beans which grow and lead to a castle in the sky inhabited by a giant and his fortune. However in order to fulfil every pantomime expectation many more facets have been added.
Steve McFadden takes the headline spot this year playing the evil baddie “Fleshcreep” who has created the giant that terrorises the kingdom of Gigglewick and it is up to the hapless Jack (played by Joe Ashman) to save the day. Jack is not alone in his quest though as he is helped by his Mother, Dame Trott, played by Andrew Fettes, and his brother Billy Trott played by Dave Bibby who between them got the majority of the gags.
Also in the cast are Max Cane playing the King of Gigglewick, Lucy Kane playing Jack’s love interest Princess Mayflower, and Rebecca Keatley as the rhyming ‘Vegetable Fairy’ – Fairy Sugarsnap.
Jack and the Beanstalk certainly had more audience participation than I have seen in a long time. Children squealed with delight as they were invited to help beat the baddies armed with giant peas and water pistols. And Dame Trott struck up some cheeky banter with a member of the audience (on this occasion Simon). All good fun!
Other pantomime elements were blended in well. McFadden was booed constantly and there was more than the occasional nod to his role as one of the Mitchell brothers in Eastenders – but which one? Zombies scared off members of the cast while the audience screamed “he’s behind you” and there was a whole crop of jokes adding a local flavour – both Redhill, Bewbush received a cheeky mention in the script.
And there was slapstick. Lots and lots of slapstick.
Several scenes stood out, including a hilarious “Dairy” scene where Billy and Dame Trott make ice-cream and consequently a huge mess, and then a scene in the second act where there is the appearance of not just one but a whole family of giants!
So, once again Evolution Productions have pulled it out of the bag! Jack and the Beanstalk is a GIANT sized Christmas offering with a HUGE amount of appeal for the whole family.
Reviewer: Sammi O’Neill (with help from her children :D)
Why this Pantomime?
Jack and the Beanstalk provides heaps of audience participation, giants and adventure!
Playing at the Hawth Theatre Crawley until the 3rd January.
Recommended for all the family