Nottingham Theatre Royal’s 2016 pantomime Jack and The Beanstalk is a gigantic success! The 3D pantomime spectacular starts off with evil Fleshcreep ( played superbly by an enigmatic Daniel Boys) baiting the audience and telling of how his master – The Giant – will soon be destroying the township of Tiddling On The Trent and will be enjoying eating all the animals and populace. On flashes the good Spirit of The Beans (Sarah Earnshaw) who assures the quaking audience that it has been forecast that there one called Jack who will be the town’s saviour. In fine musical theatre voice Earnshaw borrows the Sondheim song “Giants In The Sky” and is joined by the professionally excellent singing and dancing chorus.
Within a few minutes the audience are well into the panto feel. Little children wave their glowing fairy dolls and sparkly sticks in time to the music and the adults sit back knowing already that their ticket money has been well invested. Some have already booked next year’s panto to secure the same seats! That is Nottingham theatre going dedication for you! All we need now is the welcoming and rapturous applause for the television stars they have come to see. Let the fun and the puns and the spectacular story of Jack and the Beanstalk continue!
In no particular order a Squeezy Jet drops off a lovable Tony Maudsley as Dame Trot direct from Benidorm. Maudsley proves himself a massive hit with the Nottingham audience and each crazy costume change is fully appreciated as are the risqué jokes and daft patter. Could there be romance in the air for Dame Trot with the nutty King Crumble (Ian Gledhill)? We will have to wait and see. She is lonely after all and he is very rich. But first there is a nasty giant to kill and where are the Trot brothers when you need them?
Veterans – The Chuckle Brothers – playing comical brothers Paul and Barry Trot work the audience into gales of laughter with their banter and broad comedy. It seems all these guys have to do is call out “Hullo” and the audience happily, and very regularly, return the greeting with a blast of affection reserved for dear old friends. Nottingham Theatre Royal have made a great choice in their casting of these long term and endearing entertainers.
As Jack Trot former X Factor star Chico is slick professionalism itself. Chico is a winning combination of natural charm and honed talent borne of hard work. He is an instant hit with the audience generally and causes a stir with the ladies in the audience in his ‘Nighty Night -Pyjama Pyjama scene. All may be revealed! Throughout the entire show Chico appears to have enough energy to light up the whole of Tiddling On The Trent!
Gemma Buckingham is a beautiful peachy bundle of delight as Princess Apricot. Buckingham is another big winner with the Nottingham audience with many a chap in the stalls and circles wishing that he could marry the sweetest princess ever! But we all know who is destined to do that “Don’t we boys and girls?” I said “DON’T WE Boys and Girls?”
Nottingham Theatre Royal pantomimes are known for their spectacular sets and sound and lighting effects including amazing 3D effects ( Whizzbang 3D Productions ) and pyrotechnics and this 2016 Jack and the Beanstalk does not disappoint. Neither does the live music and spot on choreography where every cast member looks like they are having the time of their lives including the young Theatre Royal Babes. Jack and the Beanstalk is directed by Ken Alexander; choreographed by Paul Robinson and musically directed by Allan Rogers with the Theatre Royal Orchestra providing live music throughout. The pantomime is written with great humour and topicality by Jonathan Kiley and Alan McHugh.
Photos Copyright Shawn Ryan 2017©.
Reviewer: Phil Lowe