Reviewed by Lucy Gwilliam
Stockport Plaza puts on a great panto each year and we have been fortunate to watch a number of these productions over the past few years. This year’s adaptation was based upon the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. My children who are 6 and 9 absolutely love the theatre and were super excited to start this year’s Christmas events line up with this performance, as were my husband and me. The one performance they have never seen at a pantomime is Jack and the Beanstalk and I did wonder how they could adapt this bedtime story to allow it to be long enough and entertaining enough for a pantomime, and they did succeed.
The production team took the story of Jack, a young man who sells his family cow to raise money for food, only to be tricked into taking beans for it instead of food. The beans turn out to be magical beans and take Jack in an adventure to a giant’s castle, where he steals a golden goose and a singing harp. We all know how this story goes… however, this adaptation sees Jack as a young suiter who falls in love with the King’s daughter, Princess Rosalinda. The princess is subsequently captured by the giant and taken up into the clouds as his prisoner. It is here that the story continues with the original storyline and sees Jack trying to sell the family cow Daisy to help put food on the table. Whilst out he hears that the king will give half of his kingdom to whoever returns the princess. He is then visited by Fairy Cauliflower (in disguise as a normal lady) who purchases the cow for 4 gold coins – but really it is a bag of magical beans. When he returns home to his mother, Dane Trott, he realises he has been tricked and his mother throws the beans out of the window.
Early next morning, he sees the giant beanstalk outside of his home and decides it’s his perfect opportunity to rescue the princess and claim half of the land from the king. This is the ideal chance for him to win the girl and save his family from hardship. He sets off up the beanstalk, but little does he know, his brother Simple Simon, his mother Dame Trott and King Ethelred are following close behind.
As you can imagine, in true pantomime style, they rescue the girl and there are plenty of laughs, ups and downs and great silliness involved.
We attended on the first night of the show and there were plenty of bloopers and blunders thrown in, I don’t know if these were real or just part of the performance, but I didn’t care as it made it more entertaining. Ted Robbins who plays Dame Trott and Bradley Thompson who plays Simple Simon make a great duo and we’re brilliant at entertaining the audience and keeping the show engaging for all. I felt a real buzz from the audience, and it was an energetic vibe throughout the show. The general feel for the show was positive and upbeat and I felt a good community spirit throughout.
One of the main things I loved about show was the use of the puppetry for the giant. It was so effective, and the booming of the voice was really terrifying for people of any age. The costumes and dancing were all really well planned and high standard.
Another thing I found great was how well the cast interacted with the audience, especially Bradley Thompson, he was a pleasure to watch. My favourite part was when the children came to the stage to dance. His interaction and demeanour were just so captivating.
Tickets are £20.35 each for an adult ticket, £14.30 each for a child ticket and £15.68 each if purchasing a family ticket of 4 plus.
Overall, we enjoyed this show thoroughly and we would recommend it to our friends. We had a great night and it was such a good way to kick off the Christmas season.
Tickets cost from £14.30 to £20.35 (booking fees may apply).
Jack and the Beanstalk is at the Stockport Plaza from 29 November 2019 to 5 January 2020, for more information or to book tickets visit stockportplaza.co.uk or call the box office on 0161 477 7779.
The Plaza, Mersey Square, Stockport, Cheshire. SK1 1SP | 0161 477 7779