Peter Duncan’s made for online audiences pantomime is filled with plenty of giggles and has plenty of imagination.
With many live pantomimes having to be cancelled, Peter Duncan has stepped in to rescue this Christmas tradition by filming a production of Jack and the Beanstalk in his back garden – to hilarious effect.
Giant Blunderbore is in a terrible rage, shouting at villagers to pay their rent or he will eat them. In order to pay Dame Trott has to let Jack sell her beloved cow Buttercup – which doesn’t quite according to plan. Soon Jack finds himself on adventure to rescue Buttercup and his beloved Jill from the giant.
Filled with plenty of jokes, enjoyable characterisations and of course all the traditional pantomime interactions this unique pantomime is a joy from start to finish.
Directed by Ian Talbot and Duncan, by having it shot entirely on location it means there is plenty of opportunity to be creative that will certainly appeal to younger audience members’ sense of imagination – particularly when they see where the giant is located or when Jack climbs the Beanstalk. It is clear a lot of thought has gone into ensuring it all feels authentic. The way in which every area of the garden and the house is used really adds to the magic of the experience. Each scene has its own uniqueness given the way in which the garden has been impressively adapted so you never really feel that you see the same area the same way twice.
But it is also all the little details that make the difference – for example the way in which Buttercup the cow is able to come back down to earth is really quite hilarious, with the physical comedy also proving to be neatly and effectively done. Elsewhere, David Morgan’s costume designs are wonderfully vibrant – particularly those of course for Dame Trott which are flamboyant and wonderfully imaginative.
The story and the script really flows nicely throughout and younger members of the audience will certainly be paying attention, thanks to the numerous opportunities to participate and shout at their screens. This works well due to the energy and sheer enthusiasm on display from the whole cast.
Jos Vontyler as Fleshcreepy is particularly delightful to watch doing his dastardly deeds – with an almost child catcher quality about him but in a less frightening way for youngsters, meanwhile Sam Ebenezer has a boyish charm about him that really works for the character of Jack and Peter Duncan is fabulous as Dame Trott.
Overall, while it might not be pantomime as you would expect this year, this unique take really raises the spirits of those watching. It is immensely enjoyable, funny and perfect family entertainment.
By Emma Clarendon
Jack and the Beanstalk will be released Saturday December 4 at Everyman Cinemas and Saturday December 11 at Showcase Cinemas. It will also be available to watch online from December 4 at www.pantoonline.co.uk.