Jack And the Beanstalk, The Giant Pantomime Spectacular At Swindon Wyvern Theatre Review


Reviewed by Katy Hart

This year pantomime is back, bigger and better and just what we are all needing to boost our spirits. The Wyvern website says “Expect laughs, music, special effects, magic beans and bundles of audience participation at Wiltshire’s biggest Christmas show”. They do not disappoint.

We’ve just returned home from a wonderful family evening out together. It isn’t easy to find something that we can all do as a family now – three teenage boys can make family outings a little difficult however tonight was great fun and provided entertainment for us all, making it a special time to share together.

It was a full house this evening with representation from all ages present. In the row in front of us was a young toddler who sat mesmerised throughout most of the evening, next to a doting grandparent who was possibly shouting louder than everyone else together. Audience participation is a key ingredient in a successful pantomime and if tonight is anything to go by, then it was a huge success.

The pantomime started with Fleshcreep (played by Danny Lane) introducing himself accompanied by the usual boo’s and hisses from the audience, before we were whisked away to the village of Stoney-Broke. It was here that we met Jack (Zack Guest) and his Brother Silly Billy (Samuel Parker) and their Mother, Dame Trott (Matt Rixon). The cast of 12 members also includes Dance and Television sensation Louie Spence. He plays the role of ‘The Spirit of the Beans’ which although an unknown role to myself, was probably my most favourite character of the evening. His pirouetting and personality were absolutely perfectly matched to this role, and he really lifted the whole evening.

The pantomime follows the lives of Jack, Billy and Dame Trott as they struggle to make ends meet, living in the shadow of Giant Blunderbore. Their only chance of paying the rent is to sell their beloved cow, Daisy. Jack sells Daisy for what he thought was 10 gold coins, only to find out later he had been tricked, and in fact, he had sold her for 10 measly beans. The beans were thrown out, but magically grew into a giant beanstalk reaching up to Giant Blunderbore. Jack wanted to be a hero and save them all, kill the giant and live happily ever after with the Queen’s sister, Jill (Rebecca Jardine). Of course there are lots of mishaps along the way, but as in all good stories, good overcomes evil and they all live happily ever after.

There were lots of laughs with jokes (and innuendoes) and plenty of opportunity to join in with a song or two. I’m sure most of Swindon could have heard the shouts of excitement as we tried to tell the Queen (Millie O’Connell), Dame Trott and Billy about the skeletons behind them. We chatted all the way home in the car and shared our favourite parts of the evening. These included Daisy, the tap dancing cow (we’ve never seen a tap dancing cow before) and the golden harpist ethereally floating through the air.

A production like this is so much more than just a talented cast (although they absolutely were) – it also involves a huge creative and production team. It really was such a lovely way to spend family time together, and something that seems even more precious now than it has in the past. If there’s one thing that Covid has given us, it’s an appreciation of the arts and the incredible talent of so many people. A huge thank you to all involved. A special mention to the wardrobe department who excelled with their costumes – Dame Trotts finale costume and golden harpist costume were incredible, as was Spirit of the Beans. Also the Wyvern Theatre Band directed by Henry Brennan. Their timing and performance were amazing.

There really is nothing quite like the magic and joy of a Christmas pantomime. It lifts spirits and is the perfect way to get the entire family into a festive mood. I would thoroughly recommend a visit to the Wyvern Theatre this Christmas time.

The Wyvern Theatre is within easy walking distance of several car parks, including the Wyvern short stay car park literally outside the main doors. Evening parking here is £2.00 for over 2 hours (free of charge on Sundays).

There is always a friendly welcome from the Wyvern staff and its volunteers.

The vast majority of the seats in the auditorium are tiered (there are only a few flat seats at the front of the stalls), this gives excellent viewing for all – even children, although booster seats are also available if needed. They are also clean, comfortable seats.

The theatre is adhering to Covid safety guidelines, and the wearing of face masks was requested. Sanitising Stations are located throughout the theatre and any purchases can be made by contactless card.

Rating: 5/5

Pricing: Ticket prices from £18.00 to £33.50 (concessions and family tickets also available). A £3.65 transaction fee may apply to your order.

JACK AND THE BEANSTALK is at The Wyvern Theatre, Swindon from Saturday 4 December 2021 to Sunday 2 January 2022. For more information or to book tickets visit or call the box office on 0343 310 0040.

Wyvern Theatre, Theatre Square, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN1 1QN.

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