Jack And The Beanstalk
The festive period is notorious for the pantomime genre; the fun-filled, fast-paced, over-the-top style of theatre is the coveted event to throw oneself into the Christmas spirit. Whilst the Attic Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon isn’t the obvious choice to host such a spectacle, Tread The Boards certainly know how to make the close-quartered, cosy atmosphere appear larger than life, offering the perfect setting for their latest show, Jack And The Beanstalk.
This fresh, imaginative script written by John-Robert Partridge and expertly directed by Jennifer Rigby is filled with many of the original elements to the much-loved tale; with new twists, turns and characters laced throughout. Jack Scott-Walker stepped into the title role with great flair and know-how, his duet with Nicolette Morgan’s Princess was quite the showstopper; their voices were well suited to one another and harmonised together flawlessly.
The Fairy, played tremendously by Annaliese Morgan, came with top comedic value and was certainly an audience favourite. One of the aforementioned ‘twists’ to the tale was Fairy’s crush on Fleshcreep (Danny Teitge), the Giant’s henchman; seeing a good character having an appetite for a ‘baddie’ has the potential to throw things slightly, but their subtle chemistry and striking performances contrasted each other perfectly. However, Danny Teitge’s show stealing moment came in the form of an original song, written by Musical Director Elliot Wallis. The melody and lyrics were impeccable, equalled only by Teitge’s delivery. In fact, the musical numbers across the whole show were performed brilliantly by all, and Catherine Prout’s expert choreography was well executed throughout.
Marc Alden-Taylor as Simon built up an on-going rapport with the audience from the beginning; his comedic timing and movement coupled with his loveable demeanour meant the audience quickly warmed to him and that never faltered. Linden Iliffe’s Lord Chamberlain and a very clever ‘Dancing Cow’ (yes, you read that correctly!) injected bursts of energy and were welcome additions to the stellar line-up.
The star of the night, however, was certainly Pete Meredith in the lead role of Dame Gladys Trot. From the naughty gags to the outrageous gowns, there was never a dull moment when the Dame adorned the stage and the theatre was filled to the rafters with non-stop laughter.
As already noted, the theatre space itself is quite limited, but the imagination(s) of this production company certainly weren’t. From the floor-to-ceiling hand-painted scenery and eventual ‘uplift’ into the clouds, to the growing beanstalk itself, there were many clever and well thought out technical additions which really added to the marvel of the show. There was perhaps the odd occasion where the Giant came across as a little too loud, meaning some of the dialogue was unfortunately lost, but the cast ploughed through and more than made up for it with their reactions and general performance.
The highlight of the night was actually the audience participation; it came in abundance and every person thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. There were water-guns for children (or in this case, an enthusiastic adult too!) to use, plenty of ‘it’s behind you’ opportunities and lots of other silliness for the audience to get involved with; adding to the already fun-filled event.
Jack And The Beanstalk is running at the Attic Theatre until January 5th 2020, and its certainly a show not to be missed! Simply follow the link below to book your tickets online now – we’ve heard they’re becoming more limited by the day so do hurry!
And for any of you gentlemen heading to see the show – a suggestion for you to adorn your best ‘glad-rags’ to be in with a chance of becoming Dame Gladys Trot’s choice of boyfriend for the night!
Review by Pulse Productions