Jack & the Beanstalk - The Queens Theatre, Hornchurch.
This is a charming traditional pantomime which certainly gives us all the ‘Fun of the Fair’.
Set in a fairground with a cast of nine actor/musicians and a junior chorus of 10 talented youngsters there was much to enjoy tonight with Jack and his friends.
For me, it ticked an extra box as several of the songs were from perhaps lesser known musicals that I personally love including ‘Catch Me if you Can’, ‘Big Fish ‘ and ‘La Cage Aux Folles’ so right from the start I was in my element.
The set was candy pink and in bright and cheery with great use of a gauze cloth. Act one was a bit slow to kick off but Act two definitely a much stronger act.
James William-Pattison as Jack was every boy’s hero and was perfectly paired against Elizabeth Rowe as Jill. Elizabeth gave a strong performance and had great personality. They were a great pairing.
There are two types of Dame, a man ‘being a man wearing a dress’ and the other being the female impersonator. John Barr as Dame Trott was definitely in the first category and he excelled at this. On top of this, he appears to have an amazing singing voice, from the little bits we got to hear, I certainly would like to have heard a lot more.
Claire Greenway as Pat the Cow was full of energy from start to finish. She definitely had the moo-sic in her, with lots of great moo-ves!
Hollie Cassar had great characterization in both the roles of Fortuna and her twin sister Spatula, but more impressive were her amazing vocals. She definitely had the best voice in the show.
Celia Cruwys-Finnigan and Sheldon Greenland both gave great performances in a range of cameo roles.
The baddie of the piece was Taylor Rettke as Hurricane, the Giants henchman. Personally, I felt he could have gone a little bit further with his audience interaction but nevertheless he did a good job.
However, it was Richard Emerson as Frank Furter who was just brilliant with such a strong stage presence and who delivered the strongest performance of the night for me.
The dualogue between Frank and Dotty in Act Two was a masterclass in how to delight an audience in a pantomime. Just brilliant!
In addition, the Giant costume/prop was one of the best I have seen so great kudos to the creatives for that. As with every pantomime it’s important that the company play to the audience and give them what they want from a show and this company certainly know how to please their audience. In fact, the little girl sitting next to me told me what she thought about the show. She said she loved it “when his hair fell off and the cow was very naughty, so Father Christmas might not come to her!” this is a great indication that they have got it just right.