Paul Holman’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk opens beautifully with an ethereal, fairytale set, dazzling costumes and stylish choreography for that’s what we have come to expect from Holman – traditional pantomime at its best.

Sadly this production of Jack and the Beanstalk although its peppered with special effects and story-book sets lacks the essential ingredients  –  sparkle,  vitality, gags and brash belly laugh humour. It’s even thin on the ground with audience participation which was obvious by the number of fidgety kids in the auditorium.

Carriageworks regular  Jezz Edwards as Simon Trott tries his very best to raise the roof  – but gets very little support and opportunity to prove his  excellent comedic skills in this script.

This year, Holman has cast drag artist Myra DuBois as Dame Trott. Sometimes this works well and other times it does not. On this occasion it does not. DuBois sticks very much to his drag image in dress and repartee, rather than integrating the bloke in a frock persona into the role as Danny La Rue used to do.   DuBois  also lacks the cutting edge traditional humour and repartee that is part and parcel of a panto dame.

The saving grace of this pantomime is Nic Gilders  Fleshcreep. A superb actor his characterization is pure gold. He is evil without being frightening, tackles  physical comedy effortlessly and proves his singing and dancing skills in Act2 and soon becomes the villain you love to hate.

Danny Colligan’s Jack is  rather insipid and weak and he’s not the dashing hero he should be and there is little chemistry between him and  Mary Hodgkinson’s Princess, whilst Ellie Sharpe’s  Fairy is perfection personified.

The pantomime runs  until Saturday 6 January

Liz Coggins if a member of the Critics Circle




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