Jack and the Beanstalk, Northcott Theatre, Exeter

 BILLED as “a giant of a family pan­tomime”, Steve Bennett’s new version of Jack and the Beanstalk is on stage in Exeter until 6th Jan­u­ary.

Steve has not only written the script, but directs AND plays Dame Dotty Trott in this traditional telling of the story of a village under greed siege and how a boy falls in love and rescues his family and neighbours from a giant in the sky.

The curtain goes up to a classic village scene, pastel-painted cottages and lively villagers, and it’s straight into the battle between good and evil, in the persons of Fairy Mistletoe (a delightful Emma Stansfield) and the very nasty Fleshcreep, earthly henchman to the giant, and suavely performed by Mark Jardine. The schools audience was a bit reticent about booing, but they soon real­ised that giving a very vigorous “thumbs down” doesn’t actually make any noise!

Steve Bennett is a great dame, this year joining long standing chorus member Noel White “promoted” to the role of Silly Billy and a favourite with the children.

Jessie May and Victoria Lucie as Jack and Jill prove what a difference it makes to have really good singers in leading roles. Jessie’s a loveably energetic Jack, all ready to climb the ENORMOUS bean­stalk that grows in the garden and take on anything encountered on the way to rescue Jill.

With clever new comedy scenes as well as old favourites, there’s lots of chance for audience partici­pa­tion before the wedding scene. It has something for all the family, and even a chance at the Time Warp, again!

GP-W

 

Photographs by Mark Dawson