Jack and the Beanstalk
Tuesday 11th December 2012
Twice daily – View Fairfield Halls for times and booking
7th December to 6th January 2013
Panto season usually passes me by, but this year I made an exception and decided to give it a go.
That resulted in attending my first pantomime since I was knee high to a beanstalk myself. Which was only around 10 years ago aged 11.
“Oh no you weren’t” I hear you shout. OK. Maybe not, but it was worth a try!
I wasn’t totally sure it was a good idea, thinking panto’s just for children. How wrong was I? It was actually pretty fabulous.
Though appearing to lack much in the way of plot and developing storyline, it was a delightfully amusing pantomime, providing non-stop laughter and fun.
The Ashcroft Theatre, Fairfield Halls, was un-surprisingly full of young children, though with a healthy number of adults present too. Judging by the noise and tone of the laughter the show wasn’t just tickling the children’s funnybones either!
That was a pleasant surprise as I half expected a show full of children’s jokes and childish slapstick humour. Indeed there was plenty of that, which was great as it was hugely enjoyable to be transfixed in a magical, fairytale world, far, far away from everyday, worldly, adult worries. You even forgot you’re in Croydon!
I’m more usually found at comedy gigs tackling adult themes and interestingly the show didn’t lack for a little of that as there was a sprinkling of saucy humour here and there which presumably, (hopefully) in the grand tradition of pantomime, went right over children’s heads.
There’s a lovely gag when Billy Trott, one of the brother’s, says to his mother, Dame Trott, “I’ve just been kissed by a fairy.” Dame Trott, quick as a flash replied, “Welcome to showbusiness son!”
There was another good gag regarding attractive women banging on Billy’s dressing room door. I won’t spoil the joke, but will say that co-incidentally I heard the very same joke told at the very same venue exactly a week ago, by none other than Jimmy Carr! So you see, if they can squeeze in a joke good enough for x rated Jimmy Carr there are “innocent” adult jokes to be enjoyed that won’t upset the children.
I can now see, hard as it may be for you to believe, Jimmy Carr doing panto one day. This pantomime was a total gag fest and after all that is his forte. Remember, you heard it here first. Come on, you know it makes sense!
There was even some good old fashioned gunging which took me back to my Tizwaz days. I’m sure that only finished about ten years ago ;-).
Though its an old play, it was brought right up to date with very topical references to Nicole Scherzinger’s X Factor vocabulary of jahmazing and smashtastic words; some Croydon references; gangham style dancing and even a Queen singalong thrown in.
Star billing of the show went to Laila Morse aka ‘Little Mo’ Slater in Eastenders who played Fairy Sugarsnap. She was fine, but with a limited role. The show stealers were Jack’s Brother, Billy Trott, played by Herbie Adams and Dame Trott (his Mother) played by Quinn Patrick. They were superb as they entertainingly and amusingly kept the show flowing with their jokes, double entendre’s and audience banter.
The brothers Jack Trott (Sid Sloane of CBeebies) and Billy Trott worked well together though it was more than a little odd and perplexing that one was Black, one white, with no explanation for this genetic confusion.
The biggest star of the show, is quite literally the tallest man in Britain, in fact the whole of Europe, Neil Fingleton, who played the Giant Blunderbore. He was a sight to see and performed his role well.
It was great to hear so much laughter and shouting from the children in the audience as they enjoyed participating in the show. The cast involved them as much as they could and that’s tremendous. Seeing and being involved in such a way is a great introduction to live theatre and who knows may well inspire an interest in them to try other theatre, as well as consider going into acting or comedy when they’re older.
Jack and the Beanstalk is a great all round family show, that easily holds your attention from start to finish.
Jack and the Beanstalk runs twice daily until 6th January 2013.
© Tiemo Talk of the Town
Photographs © Fairfield Halls
18th December 2012