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A spellbinding tale for all ages

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TO NDR Jack REview 6

Val Adamson

FANTASTICAL: The cast of Steven Steads family pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk. Right: Rory Booth as Jack and Darren King as Dame Flora Flatbroke in this highly colourful pantomime.

Jack and the Beanstalk
DIRECTOR: Steven Stead
CAST: Rory Booth, Jessica Sole, Darren King, Liesl Coppin, Shelley McLean, Peter Court, Bryan Hiles, Lyle Buxton.
VENUE: Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre
UNTIL: January 5
RATING: ****


KICKSTART’S festive family pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, presents an attractive offering even before the show starts, with its impressive programme promising a colourful, fantastical show.

As I watched my four-year-old clutch on to that programme and refuse to let it go as he browsed the pages, I suspected the show would be one that would have the littlies glued to their seats. Of course, when one of the show’s opening songs turned out to be one of his current favourite hits – Michael Bublé’s It’s a Beautiful Day – it was a slam dunk for him from that point on already.

But, as the show progresses, it turns out to be a hit on many levels – for the little people and the big ones too.

Jack (Rory Booth) and his mother Flora Flatbroke (Darren King) are struggling to make enough money to hold on to their home and little dairy. With Buttercup the cow the last and only hope of a future, they do their best to make ends meet.

But the wicked Lady Perfidia Beastly (Liesl Coppin) threatens to evict them if they don’t pay up, sparking a whirlwind of trouble for this poor family as they try to get the money to save their home.

The adventure sees Jack encounter some trouble with a pair of tricky, daft crooks, magic beans and a magical castle in the sky where a grumpy giant (Lyle Buxton) resides. With only his love interest and friend, Princess Jillian (Jessica Sole), and the good fairy Glissanda Goldenvox (Shelley McLean) at his side, can Jack save his family?

The script for this classic with a pantomime twist is laced with witty one-liners, and loads of song, dance and singalongs that keep the audience, young and old, entertained.

The design (Greg King) wonderfully sets the tone for this piece and draws you into the story, particularly the scenes in the giant’s castle. Together with the costumes (costume design by King and Steven Stead, with costumes made by Shanti Naidoo) these two elements really give the show a colourful and lively feel.

On the music front (orchestral direction, Evan Roberts; and vocal direction, Charon Williams-Ros) a broad selection is delivered and these are all performed well by the cast. They pull off some pacy dance moves (choreography, Janine Bennewith) with ease.

On the topic of the cast and dancers (Evashnee Pillay and Dominique La Grange), kudos to all for a great performance.

Special mentions have to be made. Rory Booth takes on his first family panto lead with Jack and the Beanstalk and he’s done a praiseworthy job of it.

Cecil (Bryan Hiles) and Claude (Peter Court) – the pair of crooks from Robin Hood – make a comeback and Hiles will have you rolling with laughter as he plays the ditsy, yet adorable, Cecil.

Lyle Buxton is also a highlight and it’s not just his amazing giant costume – he is a funny giant too.

I must mention the inside of the giant’s castle as a highlight too – but you need to see it to appreciate it.


• Jack and the Beanstalk runs until January 5, with performances at 2.30pm Tuesday to Sunday and 7pm Saturdays at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre. Book at Computicket. For block bookings of 10 or more, or sold performances, contact Ailsa Windsor 083 250 2690 or editor.goingplacessa@ gmail.com

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