Reviewed by Kelly Dewey
We went to see Jack & the Beanstalk last night with our 2 children who are 9 and 11. We found the theatre very easily and tried the small car park attached to the theatre, we weren’t expecting to get a space but there were a few available and for a very reasonable fee. As we entered the theatre, we were pleasantly surprised, it felt like we’d entered another world from the cold wet evening outside. This old Georgian theatre is beautiful. There was so much to look at including a massive beanstalk that was growing through the roof and ceiling of the room. Lots of theatrical thrones and artwork on display, a really nice place to enter and congregate before the show at the bar and it felt like you were a million miles away from the world you left outside the door. The people we spoke to at the front desk were pleasant and informative and showed us where to go to. The wooden stairs again were a lovely feature and made you excited to see what was at the top of them. We were seated and surprised to find circular tables rather than the traditional theatre style seating. We sat down and got settled, there had been a lot of effort put into decorating the stage area for this panto, it was very nicely done and got us excited as to what we were about to view.
Once the characters came on stage the first thing that struck me was how relaxed they all were, quite often in a small and personal theatre the first few minutes I find are often awkward until your fully emerged in the show. The actors were all relaxed into their roles immediately showing no nerves at all. This immediately put me at ease, and I could enjoy the show from the off.
We all thought Jill was a really good singer and the vegetable fairy made us laugh with her crazy enthusiasm. The panto dame was funny and able to heckle with the audience well and even put, in my opinion, some disrespectful children at the front, in their place. He dealt with that very well, still being fun and in character. We thought the Evil Giant played his part very well at a good believable level of evilness, he got the crowd booing and hissing and again took the heckling well. You could tell the actors put the whole room at ease as the volume, heckling, booing and cheering came from the very beginning and it didn’t feel like the room needed warming up or encouraged at all. I’m sure this came from us feeling relaxed from the beginning. The children all seemed very confident in their roles and projected their voices well, 100% effort was put into their acting and dancing at all times, again hiding their nerves very well enabling us the be drawn into the show quicker than normal.
The props used were all very professional and the parts were cast well and each character seemed believable. The costumes were all well-presented too. Overall, I would recommend any family to go and see this local production and I’d be interested in other shows at this beautiful theatre too.
Tickets cost from £14 (booking fees may apply).
Jack & the Beanstalk is at the Groundlings Theatre in Portsmouth from 4 December 2019 to 5 January 2020, for more information or to book tickets visit groundlings.co.uk or call the box office on 02392 737 370.
Groundlings Theatre, 42 Kent Road, Portsea, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 3BS