Jack and the Beanstalk (2 hours 15 mins) written by Peter Swingler
“Magic, mystery , song dance and a fat man in a frock”
December, parades in the streets as well as the now traditional rows over the colours of baubles and the cost of food from the Christmas markets. It’s been a long hard year for many and this latest festive offering from Tip Top productions is the antidote to this reviewers existential gloom.
This years star performer is Joe Woolford, star of TV’s The Voice. Joe appeared in the 2015 TV series and also represented the UK in this year’s Eurovision as part of the duo “Joe and Jake”. ( I think I was asleep for that ) . Joe making his panto debut had a rough time during the opening musical medley due to a problem with his microphone , but the defiant talent show star battled on. Tip top regular Dan Ellis is great as Willy , working the crowd well and Kevin Dewsbury’s Dame offers a string of innuendos and fantastical costumes. The innuendo felt toned down compared to last years panto, but the adults can enjoy jokes about Brexit, Wrexham and the Northgate development: “When will the Giant appear: when Chester get’s a new market and this theatre’s been knocked down!”
Of the rest of the cast Julie Blagrove as the veg obsessed fairy is a slick performer who is limited mainly to exposition. Jade Pritchard as Jill brings a smile to your face with sweet musical performances, and villainous Fleshcreep (Kieron Attwood ) steals the show. The Baron’s make up is reminiscent of the demonic Captain Spaulding from “House of 1000 corpses” and even has his own knowingly meta, exit music, a nod to the departed David Bowie.
Highlights of the show, which has 2 short intervals include Daisy the Cow’s milking scene and an energetic adaptation of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” featuring some water pistol action and a triple breasted bra.
Jack and the Beanstalk is pacy and never feels like its 2 hour plus running time, the plot is as slight as expected, with lots of clapping along to well known pop songs. Joe proves he has “The Voice” with a rousing rendition of Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb” as he tackles the magic beanstalk (growing out of a recycling bin).
Adults may wish to top up on mulled drinks in advance to make the best of the panto atmosphere, but Jack and the Beanstalk offers fun for all the family. Sit back relax and dream of the time when all you wanted for Christmas was a robot cat.
tickets available here :
As a final note I’d like to say happy Christmas and a big thanks to all at the cast, crew and volunteers at Tip Top who always make theatre goers welcome. From Talking Heads to Grease, thanks for some great evenings, we’re all looking forward to 2017’s productions.