A glorious, campy and traditional pantomime conceived and co-directed by Peter Duncan (those of us in middle age will recall him as a Blue Peter presenter who naturally succeeded John Noakes as Mr Action), Jack & the Beanstalk steams into Everyman cinemas/online from 4 December 2020 and Showcase cinemas from 11 December.
With tricks, songs, wince-inducing jokes, a lively cow, and big production numbers, this Jack ticks all the boxes, and the garden setting is lovely. It made me think how much I miss theatre, big-scale panto and just watching people being silly.
But this Jack is a well-presented film, and it shows. Poor Dame Trott (Duncan, delightful from start to finish) has to sell her prize cow, and from there the action gets crazier as Jack brings home magic beans and an angry giant needs appeasing. A familiar tale, winningly told.
Giving work to 35 actors and creatives, and supporting six charities and youth projects, Jack & the Beanstalk is a much-needed piece of entertainment, with some knowing performances from the likes of Ian Talbot (pompous Squire, also co-director), Nicola Blackman (garden Fairy), Jos Vantyler (bad guy) and Sam Ebenezer (Jack).
If you like your panto to have a Dame showing her knickers, two people dressed as a dancing animal, a cheesy love story, a singalong, a hissable baddie and a chorus of “he’s behind you” then this film of one of our best-loved fairytales is just the ticket.
An entertaining piece of work which uses familiar melodies and new music, ensemble cavorting, the odd knowing reference to lockdown rules, and some inventive special effects, I can heartily recommend Jack & the Beanstalk for all the family.
In fact it appears to be something of a Duncan family affair: daughter Katie plays piano, son Arthur does the catering, sister and brother-in-law are inside the cow! And did I notice former BP partner Sarah Greene in the list of thanks?
You can catch Jack and the Beanstalk at one of 55 cinemas in the Everyman or Showcase chain, or buy a ticket to watch at home (starting from £25). It runs until 10 January and more information can be found here.
The production benefits the following charities – POhWer; Clothing Collective; British Youth Music Theatre; Prost8; Scouts; and Best Beginnings.
I don’t give star ratings but in the Christmas spirit I’ll give it 6/5 🙂
LouReviews received complimentary access to review Jack and the Beanstalk.
Image credits: Gordon Render
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