Give children an excuse to shout knickers as loudly as they can and you’ll win them over immediately. Poole Lighthouse’s seasonal offering of Jack and The Beanstalk does just this and they love it. Once started they continue to shout and cheer, hiss and boo until the curtain comes down – adults and children alike.
With an udderly gorgeous cow, Daisy, who suffersfrom wind, children have permission to laugh and cheer about things that normally good manners would prevent. But isn’t that so much what panto is all about -the chance for families to let their hair down and act like carefree children? On press night Dame Trott even called out one of the Scout leaders who’d clearly been joining in with gusto, and jokingly told her to act her age – it could have applied to most of the adults there.
Debra Stephenson makes a welcome return to Poole as Jack Trott, selected to slay Giant Blunderbust who fe fi fo fums loud enough to shake the theatre. With the promise of the princess’ hand in marriage, he flies off to win his bride. No climbing the beanstalk in this production – maybe health and safety rules are strict in this magical kingdom! With plenty of chances to impersonate characters ranging from Bart Simpson to Cheryl Cole, Debra is perfect as the principal boy.
An inspired piece of casting sees classical actor Patrick O’Kane playing the giant’s henchman Fleshcreep. With the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, and film and television including Prometheus and Games of Thrones under his belt, this is his first foray into panto And what a triumph. He gives a masterclass in how to be evil and the audience adore him . His arrival on stage is greeted by such emphatic booing that it’s enough to make the most malevolent Giant quake in his boots.
Tom Bright shows his versatility playing Dame Trott as well as directing and writing the script He’s brilliant, very much the Les Dawson type dame with a bossom out of control, he reels off the flirty jokes and revels in the slapstick.
Dan Looney is a hilarious and endearing Simple Simon with Neil Syme as the hapless King. Natalie Bush is a charming Princess and Joanne Darby weaves the magical spells as the dizzy Fairy Bow Bells. This show is slick, fun and exciting from beginning to end.
This is a traditional style panto for today’s children. Street dance sits easily beside ballet, Jessie J alongside the musical Bugsy Malone.
There are excellent performances from senior and junior chorus, fantastic costumes and colourful sets. Live music also adds that special touch .
This is producer Robin Cave’s 33rd Christmas production in Poole and one that will be hard to beat. It is slick, fun and exciting from beginning to end. Congratulations on another cracker of a panto!