Review: South Hill Park pantomime Jack and the BeanstalkBy Steph Davies
December 13, 2012
Jack and the Beanstalk
South Hill Park, Bracknell
Until January 5
Old Ma Donald had a farm, and on that farm she had a talking pig, hen and goose – yes, it’s the magic of panto folks!
Talking (and singing) animals are just some of the delights on offer in Bart Lee’s splendid, colourful version of Jack and the Beanstalk.
A hilarious dame, sweet young lovers and a horrid goblin are all on hand to take us through the story.
And, of course, there are lots of children to enchant us with their terrific singing and dancing.
If you’re not already feeling the spirit of Christmas, pop in and see this panto which is sure to do the trick.
Fizzing along with songs and laughter the pace never flags from start to finish, as Old Ma Donald, also known as director Julian Hirst, takes centre stage as the dame.
Auntie Dolly, as she is called by her friends (that’s us) steers the action along with a deft hand, interacting wonderfully with the audience, and showing a real talent for witty ad libs.
This year’s panto seems a lot more interactive than South Hill Park’s usual festive offering, a change clearly appreciated by the young audience, who were completely drawn into the story, lapped up every opportunity to take part, and were obviously having a fantastic time.
David Blackwell is endearing as the hapless Jack, while Francesca Eve sparkles as his girlfriend Jill, also delighting us with her lovely singing voice.
Bracknell’s Got Talent runner-up Amy Newman, in the role of Daisy the cow, shows just how many emotions can be conveyed with one word (moo), while she and the girls in the brilliant cow ballet are highly amoosing.
Tom Neill is charming as Monsieur Maurice, adding a touch of Gallic flair, while Kate Ashmead is deliciously nasty as the goblin Fleshcreep, a messenger of the big, bad giant, voiced by Paul Taylor.
This is a fabulous, festive show, full of gentle humour and enjoyable songs and with lots of nice little added touches – I really enjoyed the puppet farmyard animals, the falling snow, and the children taking part in Auntie Dolly’s Cabaret Café.
Children were, as always, very much a part of the panto, adding to the enjoyment with some wonderful singing and dancing.
It’s a great family show and it’s on till January 5, so go and see Jack and his friends on their adventure to the castle in the sky.