Reviewed by Kathryn Harrison
Last night my husband and I visited Liverpool’s Empire Theatre with our two daughters, aged 6 and nearly 2, to watch Jack and the Beanstalk. We all love pantomimes so we were very excited, particularly my six year old daughter, a big Strictly Come Dancing fan, who was really looking forward to seeing Shirley Ballas.
The story was the classic tale of Jack and the Beanstalk. Jack, played by Alex James-Hatton, is in love with Princess Apricot, played by Clair Gleave, but the mean Giant with the help of his evil sidekick Fleshcreep, played by Daniel Taylor, kidnaps the Princess leading Jack on a quest up the beanstalk to save her. Helping Jack on his rescue mission was his mother Dame Trot played by Iain Stuart Robertson and our favourite John Evans playing Jack’s brother Simple Simon.
The audience clearly loved Shirley Ballas as Mother Nature with lots of cheers and claps whenever she was on stage, there were lots of Strictly references without it being overkill. Our favourite performer was John Evans as Simple Simon, he was absolutely hilarious with lots of jokes for both children and adults. We were all laughing out loud throughout the show, during the 12 days of Christmas song both me and my eldest daughter were crying with laughter! As expected there was lots of fabulous music and dancing in the show, both Jack and Princess Apricot were superb singers and the backing dancers, especially the children were brilliant.
During the second half of the show there was a 3D element to the performance. We all had 3D glasses to wear, provided by the theatre, and the special effects were amazing however it’s worth noting if you have young or particularly sensitive children they might find this part a little scary with things appearing to fly towards them. My daughters were fine but I did see a few children upset during this part.
For us this was panto at its absolute best, perfect family entertainment with all of us loving the show and laughing from start to finish, even my nearly 2 year old who didn’t understand the jokes loved the physical comedy and silliness as well as being transfixed by the lights and costumes, she loved all the animals. I’d definitely recommend everyone catch this show over the festive period, whether young or old there’s something for everyone.
Tickets cost from £11 to £44.50 (plus £3.65 transaction fee).
Jack and the Beanstalk is at the Liverpool Empire from 14 December 2018 to 6 January 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/liverpool or call the box office on 0844 8713017.
Liverpool Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 1JE | 0844 8713017