Jack and the Beanstalk (Peterborough – panto)

It’s surprising how effective a comparatively simple pantomime can be, given a good script, committed performances and a simple setting.

This version of Jack and the Beanstalk is the one originally written for the Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal by Daniel O'Brien, the pen name of the Theatre Royal's then artistic director Colin Blumenau. Though the story is familiar, the characters are not quite as you might have seen them before.

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Within Susannah Henry's log-cabin of a set, the good folk of Deeping St Peeping include the aptly named Brigadier Bombast (not retired) and his daughter Belle. The period is vaguely that of the Fifties – think The Waltons – our hero Jack is a bit of a lad abetted by his best friend Simon.

Joanna Sawyer plays Jack, to the Principal Boy manner born. Jessica Guise's Belle has the right degree of feistiness as well as a good singing voice. The dialogue employs rhyming couplets in full Planché or Gilbertian mode with Lizzie Franks' Fairy Liquid (accompanied by clouds of bubbles) making the most of hers; Franks is also the choreographer.

Director Abigail Anderson keeps the action moving, especially when James Peake's Dame Trisha Trott and Silas Wyatt-Barke's Simple Simon are on stage. The spiv-like villain is, of course, Fleshcreep (Robin Johnson) and there's the pivot of the story, cow Daisy, for him to covet.

The snappy lyrics and catchy tunes are by Simon Egerton; Richard Atkinson is the musical director in charge of this staging. I was at a early preview, but the pacing of dialogue and stage action was slick throughout.

Jack and the Beanstalk runs at the Key Theatre, Peterborough until 4 January.