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Jack and the Beanstalk (Coventry)

Annette Nuttall gives a glowing five stars to Coventry Belgrade's Jack and the Beanstalk pantomime

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Iain Lauchlan as Dame Trott & Craig Hollingsworth as Simon.
© Robert Day

If you are looking for a traditional family pantomime this Christmas, look no further than the Coventry Belgrade's offering. Jack and the Beanstalk has everything you would expect and want from a pantomime.

From the moment you walk into the auditorium you are transported to a colourful pantomime world; the set literally sparkles and the costumes look luxurious.

The fabulously funky Fairy Fennel (Clare Humphrey) helps Jack (Alyssa Martyn) to become a hero. He has to protect his village (with a typically comedic name) from the Giant and his henchman, a perfectly creepy Fleshcreep (William Finkenrath). Every pantomime needs its dame, with Iain Lauchlan not only starring in it, but also writing and directing this one. His costumes are over the top creations that you can't quite believe; they raise nearly as many laughs as he does himself. The dame and Simple Simon (Craig Hollingsworth) bantered with each other and the audience (especially one enthusiastic youngster) beautifully, showing their experience and enjoyment. Of course, Daisy the cow also has a starring role; a dancing cow is something to be seen.

Jack and the Beanstalk presents technical challenges, in particular the magic beanstalk and the giant. This production delivers these in a memorable way that I have never seen before.

With plenty of audience participation and some up to date musical numbers, this show keeps the children (and adults) entertained, laughing and joining in all the way through. While there are pantomimes with a plethora of celebrity names and sky high budgets, it is nice to find a traditional, family friendly pantomime that also thrills and engages its audience.

- Annette Nuttall