THE rumbling voice of Giant Blunderbore, with its chorus of Fe Fi Fo Fum, fills the auditorium of Poole’s Lighthouse for the annual pantomime, this year a wonderfully traditional version of Jack and the Beanstalk, with enough new and modern touches to keep audiences of all ages on their toes.
Judging by the response of the youngsters, the show is a sure-fire hit, from the minute the beautiful gauze (with its Bridport trees and cloudy perspective) rises to reveal a stage full of dancing singers and the sort of picture book village we know and love.
I believe that a principal boy should be played by a girl, just as the dame should be a man, and Debra Stephenson is as dashing a Jack as Tom Bright (also the writer and director) is a classic Dame Trott.
Classical actor Patrick O’Kane, recently seen in Game of Thrones, takes his first pantomime steps as the giant’s henchman Fleshcreep, and it’s all done with gothic gusto and malevolence, hated and booed by the excited audience.
Impressionist, comedian and actress Debra Stephenson can do it all, dancing, singing and even flying up the beanstalk as Jack sells the cow for a bag of beans, saves the village and marries his sweetheart. The Jessie J duet with Natalie Bush’s Princess was a vocal highpoint.
Another memorable moment came with the sale of Daisy the cow – there was hardly a dry eye in the house.
Dan Looney is an energetic Simon, and Tom Bright is a dame in the Les Dawson style, confident enough to adlib, which can lead to some hilarious impromptu moments.
All the old jokes are there, sometimes with a nice new twist, and the whole thing is a colourful and highly entertaining romp, telling the familiar story with freshness and infectious enthusiasm.
It’s a treat, and it’s on until 5th January.
Photographs by Hattie Miles