Jack and the Beanstalk (Theatre Royal Plymouth)
Thank goodness for Bobby Davro
Thank godness for Bobby Davro!!
The energy levels palpably rises when versatile comic (Winner Takes All, Dancing On Ice, EastEnders, TV Weekly and more) Davro enters stage right in Qdos Entertainment and Theatre Royal Plymouth's Jack and The Beanstalk.
Davro is Simple Simon and source of almost all comedy in a sadly mostly run-of-the-mill pantomime. But Davro is not given full rein and many of his excellent impressions and references are dated.
X-Factor's Chico - whose rippling abs were always bound to be on show - is somewhat smug and wooden as Jack Trot with lots of posturing and mumbling in a quite minor eponymous role.
Michelle Francis (Grease, Wicked) is a sweet Princess Apricot whose Dad King Crumble (Roy North – Basil Brush's Mr Roy) defies his frail appearance to woo the robust and matronly Dame Trot (Hi-de-Hi's Jeffrey Holland).
John Challis (Boycie) returns as the villain of the piece Fleshcreep, the giant's gofer, eliciting boos, hisses and plenty of ‘oh no he didn'ts'. Ideal.
Singer Rosie Glossop twinkles as Spirit of the Beans and there are some great performances from TRP's Babes but Day-zee the one-trick cow disappointingly doesn't rap.
Bang up-to-date is the clever but scary 3D visit to the giant's castle. Amid screams of pure terror from small unsuspecting children, Whizzbang 3D Productions' effects are excellent with swooping spiders, skulls and more as the plucky band sneaks through rat holes and debris.
The Theatre Royal Plymouth Orchestra sets a brisk pace under the direction of Shaun Critten complimenting Richard Peakman's choreography. It's all there – colourful scenery, inflatable beanstalk, great hoofers, bright costuming – but somehow it falls a tad flat.