This sweet studio style Nottingham Playhouse production of Jack and The Beanstalk would normally have been put on in the compact Neville Studio with its target audience of 3-8 year olds and their grown ups snuggly placed in front, around and at the fore of the action, some glued to the action sat on colourful cushions. With it being filmed for an on demand audience at home on their sofas or bean bags it is an ideal vehicle to introduce young ones to the colourful, exciting and magical world of theatre.
The piece is ably and charmingly presented by two totally engaging young actors, Ebony Feare (Mum and other characters) and Danny Hendrix (Jack). Jack calls himself Jack Attack and believes in his boyish self as an adventurer (Jack Attack) who lives in a castle that is really only a house and he is easily persuaded by the notion of magic. When sent to the market with Steven the cow he gets fobbed off with a giant bean that grows overnight into a beanstalk and thus takes Jack on an ever lofty journey to the land where the giant lives. Gemma Caseley Kirk’s larger-than-life set allows us adults and any children out there to get Instantly involved in the story.
Ebony Feare shows her versatility in her depiction of various characters and Naomi Obeng’s script and songs are perfectly geared towards its young audience. The only thing that appears not to work is the captioning on the set window pane. This may have been spot on in a production that has a captive seated audience but with the production moving into a filmed on-demand work most of the time the captioned words aren’t visible or only partially so, due to the selective camera work. Maybe on individual’s viewing platforms there is a captioning option to choose should one be needed.
Like the main stage show, the Cinderella pantomime, it is to Nottingham Playhouse’ credit and our benefit that we get to see and enjoy any Christmas shows at all and so we applaud the theatre’s creative and technical brilliance in their festive offerings at this difficult period during the Covid pandemic and Nottinghamshire’s Tier 3 status.
Jack and the Beanstalk is billed as ‘Filled with music, dancing and plenty of opportunities to join in, this charming family show is the perfect introduction to live theatre.’ And we whole-heartedly concur as this mighty adventure is the perfect children’s show to keep the young ones entertained. Book now.