Jack and the Beanstalk (Southampton)
No slapstick scene in this production but some fantastic, innovative 3D video and special effects, which have the audience squealing with delight and fear.
The lavish costumes along with colourful sets and flawless lighting together produce an inspirational and magical vista transporting us into a land of fairy tales.
Julian Clary is magnificent as ‘Spirit of the Beans’ and totally steals the show. His sense of timing, dry laconic wit and deadpan delivery are a joy to behold. His costumes are extravagantly extreme and provide the perfect foil for his self-deprecating humour.
This takes nothing away from the incredible performances of this multi-talented cast, all of whom shine in their own characters.
Lee Mead Jack, the romantic lead, is beautifully matched with Robyn Mellow Princess Apricot. He smoulders with great stage presence and his singing voice is sublime, captivating the audience with renderings of popular ‘Joseph’ numbers, whilst being hilariously heckled by Julian Clary.
Paul Zerdin, playing cheeky Simple Simon with Sam his amazing puppet, is outstanding. Apart from his ventriloquism skills, his topical comedy is presented with genius mastery, engaging the audience throughout. His rapport with the children is instant and heart-warming.
The character of the villain ‘Fleshcreep’ is played by Nigel Havers, who, although recognised as a consummate actor, is far too nice a person to really stamp his authority on this evil role. He connects well with the audience who obligatorily boo and hiss with great relish at his every appearance.
Warm performances by Ian Gledhill as a bumbling King Crumble, and Shireen Jordan as the vivacious Lady-in-Waiting support the main players impeccably. The children are enthusiastic and charming. The agile ensemble sings and dances their hearts out, lifting the big production numbers.
The small but immensely versatile orchestra, directed by George Dyer, is a little loud at times but the audience is totally immersed in this scintillating, ear-splitting, production.
A humdinger of a pantomime, oozing fun, frolics and feel good factor for the festive season. Enjoy!!