New Wimbledon Theatre, London – until 14 January 2018
Now I must admit, I’m not the biggest panto fan but I thought I’d give it a go this year so popped along to Wimbledon to see Jack and the Beanstalk and I was pleasantly surprised! Festive favourite and seasoned Dame, Clive Rowe takes on the role of Dame Trot whilst comedian Al Murray is a panto newbie as the landlord, Al.
Directed by Thom Southerland, Jack and the Beanstalk focuses on the humourous rapport between Rowe and Murray rather than an actual storyline. Panto isn’t Shakespeare and of course the plot isn’t meant to be dramatic or emotive, but at times it did feel a little too bare and in-cohesive and was somewhat of a let down. However, the witty one liners and and magical moments saved the show.
Despite some of his jokes falling a bit flat, Murray is hilarious as the Pub Landlord and his audience interaction is fantastic. He really knows how to warm and audience up. I also appreciated how much he was able to not take himself seriously and just brush off when a joke doesn’t work. Clive Rowe as Dame Trot is fantastic and again, works the audience wonderfully. The two are really a winning pair; bouncing off one another and pushing each other to corpse at every possible moment. I loved this interaction and they really made the show.
I personally wasn’t a fan of the music used. The songs are unforgettable and felt put in for the sake of it. The children involved however, seemed to be having the time of their lives which was lovely to watch. Liam Tamne was great as Jack but I would’ve liked to see more of him. Despite being the title role, he was barely in the show and his relationship with Princess Apricot came and went at lightning speed. The second half especially felt like a mad dash to rap up the story.
The special effects were magical and definitely make the show for the children and adults alike. The dramatic helicopter scene at the end of Act 1 was unexpected and exciting and the 3D scene in act 2 added another level of interest.
At the end of the show everyone was buzzing and seemed to have really enjoyed their night at the panto. Don’t expect a masterpiece, but for a fun, lighthearted show full of one-liners and audience interaction, take a trip to the New Wimbledon Theatre and experience this show for yourself.