Jack and the Beanstalk (Great Yarmouth)
Recently, Great Yarmouth has been going through a process of cultural regeneration and a key part of this is the reopening of the St Georges Theatre.
Jack and the Beanstalk is the first professional pantomime that Great Yarmouth has had for several years and the excellent acoustics of this newly reopened theatre gives this pantomime a unique ambience as the accomplished cast in their children's cartoon-like costume whipped up an appreciative audience into a fervour.
In this traditional adaptation of Jack and the Beanstalk written by Steve Ace and directed by Gavin Dean, Jack and his family face eviction from their dairy farm after the Giant increases their rent.
The compact, professional cast are ably accompanied by the Nabjab Dance and Performing Arts company. This is a very traditional pantomime which will appeal to families with young children, as there is a lot of audience interaction with the pantomime staples of custard pies, water pistols and sweets, along with terrible jokes.
While the story and some of the characters are quite traditional, there are little jabs at regional rivals in the script such as when Dame Trott (Thom Bailey) compares herself to nearby Lowestoft. Additionally, there are certain modern touches by Naty Beats (as Fairy Hi Tops) - who plays a Fairy Godmother that has been heavily influenced by the hip-hop music of the 1990s – to make this a a treat for the younger parents in the audience.
Along with the excellent Dave Higgins growling menacingly in an East London twang as Fleshcreep and the fine puppetry of Jesse Dunnell as the cow and Michael Arnold as the Giant, this tight-knit cast delivers pace and action that especially keeps the younger members of the audience in amusement.
While there was the rather obvious mishap of the beanstalk failing to blossom, Gavin Dean's Simple Simon proved to be smart rather than simple and helped to support it. He and Clare Durrant's Jack made it part of the entertainment. In essence, this is an action packed, value for money family orientated pantomime that will leave you with a smile on your face at the end of the evening.
Jack and the Beanstalk runs at the St George' Theatre, Great Yarmouth until 5 January.