Work experience student Shannon Logan joined us for the dress run of Jack and the Beanstalk! Here are her thoughts...
As if they haven't kept you waiting long enough. Not to fear, the holiday season is near which means… panto time! I have to admit, Fairy Deluxe and her rhyming are very contagious. The long awaited Millfield Theatre’s rendition of Jack and the Beanstalk has finally arrived - and it’s just what everyone needs in time for Christmas. A good ol’ panto. The play follows the classic tale of Jack and the Beanstalk with its own undeniably funny twists and turns. The story of Jack and the Beanstalk may be as simple as Jack’s brother Simon, played by Christopher Burr, but Director Marc Day - whom had the challenge of having to fill in as Dame Dottie Trot on opening night, found a way of keeping the audience excited but still made it apparent that the inevitable happy ending would take shape.
Though many would like to believe that pantomime is only for the children, this production had many a joke that would even have the moodiest of teenagers chuckling in their seats. One thing I love about panto is the continual encouragement for audience participation - engaging for both adult and child. With mention of Green Lanes and Ponders End to the inclusion of the Eastenders and Emmerdale theme tunes and even the humorous constant reminder that there is always a certain someone, in this case Flesh Creep played by Alex Scott Fairley, always ruining the fun and reminding you of the responsibilities of day to day life. I mean, live a little! It is fair to say that it is a production filled with never-ending elements of comedy and fun. A great experience for everyone.
John Barrowman, expressing his passion for pantomime rightly states that “…it is often the first introduction for a child to theatre, and if that child has a great experience at a pantomime they will continue to come year after year.” Marc Day’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk not only offers a barrel of laughs, cheeky one liners and witty jokes, but also encourages the audience to not take life too seriously. With Jack and Jill, played by Alex James Ellison and Lydia Rose Bertie, we see a positive message to be true to yourself. I’d like to think of it as a ‘moment with a message’ - with Jack acting out for Jill’s attention, it becomes very clear that she likes Jack just the way he is, and with positive encouragement from the audience to just be himself, Jack finds the confidence to do so. I think this was a great touch to the play; carefully timed and placed.
One thing that most definitely did not go unnoticed was the costumes, making the characters mere presence on stage rather extravagant. With the contrast between Fairy Deluxe’s, played by Katriona Perrett, glitz and glamour and Flesh Creep’s doom and gloom wardrobe, the costumes were undeniably fantastic. Both Buttercup and the Giant were also well designed. It added that extra something to the production. What would a theatre production be without those added features like sound, lighting and set design… In this production, all three were above and beyond my expectations. They tied together and heightened the general excitement and enthusiasm of Jack and the Beanstalk.
The choreography made the musical numbers all the more interesting and although the singing was a treat for the ears, the dancing was a treat for the eyes. It pulled together the musical numbers particularly the musical medley with classic songs for many of the adults to reminisce. The dancers used the space that they had well without getting in the way of the rest of the cast whilst still making their presence known. It was an amazing production and a great way to start the holiday season. I cannot wait to see what is in store next year and hope that you go grab a ticket while you still can! One not to be missed!
Written by Shannon Logan
Jack and the Beanstalk is on till the 31st December 2017
You can book tickets here