Writer: Christian Patterson
Director: Zoe Waterman
Reviewers: Clare & Mollie Howdon
After having the pleasure of seeing the riotously funny Dick Wittington last year at Theatr Clwyd, this year’s festive offering had a lot to live up to. Luckily, Christian Patterson’s new take on Jack and the Beanstalk doesn’t disappoint.
As with previous adaptations, Patterson’s writing is sublime; consistently and effortlessly blending all the best features of a pantomime into a raucously entertaining two hours. This combined with Zoe Waterman’s innovative direction makes this production feel like a cut above your average Christmas panto. A mention also has to be given to Adrian Gee’s fantastic set design. Jack and the Beanstalk throws up some pretty big design challenges and Gee rises to these with aplomb! The reveal of the beanstalk and the giant’s impressive mechanical arm was met with gasps from my 8-year-old companion.
As with all the best pantomimes, there is an abundance of ear-busting songs, cheesy dance routines and live music and the immensely talented cast of actor-musicians tread the line perfectly between audience interaction and keeping the flow of the plot-line. The result is a pantomime that feels wonderfully fresh and original. No moments feel overly contrived and this is purely down to the effortless rapport that the ten-strong cast quickly create with the packed-out auditorium at Theatre Clwyd.
After his successful run as protagonist Dick last year, Peter Mooney returns as Jack and plays the role with the same warmth and likeability that we were greeted with last Christmas. Ben Locke is hilarious as Dick’s brother Tommy and his physicality during the many dance routines was a pleasure to watch.
Clwyd favourite Phylip Harries returns in his annual role as the pantomime Dame and radiates pure Christmas cheer throughout. His comic timing and interactions with the audience are unparalleled, whilst one of the highlights of the evening was certainly Squire Simon Stinker’s entrance on a gold-adorned hoverboard, played assuredly by Adam Barlow. Jessica Jolleys presents a charming Jill Stinker with a powerhouse vocal ability whilst Lynwen Haf Roberts steps into her usual role as the panto villain with ease. There were, as expected, a plethora of local in-jokes (the Bangor quip certainly getting the biggest laugh of the evening).
Patterson’s script knows exactly what it’s doing and, as ever, the immensely talented cast at Theatr Clwyd all play their parts to perfection. Add to this mix a captivating set and an infectious musical score and the result is a roaringly successful evening of festive fun.
Runs until 18 January 2020 | Image: Contributed