FamilyFestive 17/18North East & YorkshireReview

Jack and The Beanstalk – Times Square Pantodrome, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Book, Music and additional Lyrics: Tom Whalley

Director: Jamie Owen Gray

Reviewer: Anna Ambelez

The aptly named Fleshcreep (Stephen Sullivan) opens the show with lots of booing and hissing; a sparkling flask introduces kindly Mother Nature (Karleigh Wright), we are in panto land.

Fearless Jack (Adam Thomas), and his feckless brother, Simple Simon (Sam Glen) live in a tiny cottage with their mum, Dame Patsy Trott (Daniel Mawston). Owing rent, they are forced to sell their beloved cow Daisy (Nicky Flynn), what will become of them? Fearsome giant, his frightening henchman, castle in the air, magic beans, lovely princess (Helen Slade), fearless hero, saucy Dame, the most adorable cow, all the magic ingredients of a classic pantomime.

Sullivan’s extensive experience shines through in a convincing performance, larger than life; Mawston is assured and relaxed as a cheeky dame delivering jokes aplenty with naughty innuendos which delight the adults; Glen’s makes an impressive entrance in a ‘cowmobile’ and soon becomes the kid’s friend.; Slade has a striking voice and while the King (Daniel Hope) may have a ‘small’ part, he initiated many jokes. Thomas, in his first pantomime, may be better known to you from or his eight years in Emmerdale or Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. Special mention must be made of Wright who only stepped into the role of, a Geordie, Mother Nature on the opening show and does the part proud, being very at ease, responding to audience comments at the drop of a hat. The enthusiastic, energetic fast pace is even more impressive, being the third show of the day. The energy is also evident in the dancing ensemble, whose choreography (Stephanie Smith) compliments the action. 

This is a very traditional pantomime even bordering on old-fashioned, not a bad thing, but the purists may miss some elements such as the usual slop scene and community song. It is refreshing to see a ‘real’ massive giant appear on stage and not just a glimpse of a big foot. The actors corpsing frequently, when they could not contain their own laughter, amused the audience. The rather muted pastel scenery (Andrew Stephenson) does not match the colourful vibrant performances and a few technical hitches will probably be ironed out.

Whalley, a London based actor, must be delighted that his most recent pantomime script is being performed in his hometown and in a specially built Dome. Amid such a plethora of pantos this year, The Nice Swan Company took a daring step having this specially built dome erected in the centre of Newcastle; however, they not only raise an enormous beanstalk on stage, they also raise many a smile on a lot of happy faces.

Runs until Saturday 30 December 2017 | Image: Contributed     

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One Comment

  1. Travelled down to Newcastle to see Adam Thomas in Jack and the Beanstalk and was not disappointed. Adam was brilliant as Jack , in fact the whole cast deserve praise, it was lots of fun and just what the doctor would order. Plenty of laughs. Well done to everyone.

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