Review: "Jack & The Beanstalk" 2014 - 2015
It’s looking a lot like Christmas down at Middlesbrough Theatre with the opening of yet another outstanding Yuletide pantomime.
Extravaganza Productions never fails to impress with its annual panto that, in my humble opinion, is one of the best seasonal shows in the region.
Once again, they have pulled off a masterpiece with this year’s performance of Jack and The Beanstalk, which boasted an incredible set – complete with an almighty giant that reached out to the audience – wonderful costumes, song and humour.
Brilliantly written, witty, fast-paced and colourful, there is never a dull moment in the two-hour show that had children giddy with excitement and parents hoarse by the time the final curtain came down.
Scott Gallagher stole the show once again as the panto’s funny man, this time as the loveable Simple Simon. He’s such a regular at the Middlesbrough Theatre now, he has the Boro dialect down to a tee and has the audience eating out of his hand.
But as always, he is surrounded by a talented and strong cast, which this year includes John Altman, better known as EastEnders’ Nasty Nick, as Fleshcreep, Danny Posthill as Dame Dottie Durden, and Shelley Anne Rivers as the gorgeous Fairy Vegetable.
Will Breckin and Hannah Marie Kilminster led the cast as Jack and Princess Rosalinde, showcasing their brilliant singing voices with an array of songs, not least the young audience’s favourite Love is an Open Door, from the Frozen movie.
Try to get tickets for this year’s show if you can. You won’t be disappointed.
What do you want from your pantos?
If it’s lots of belly laughs, audience participation, glittering costumes and big musical numbers that the kids will love, then Jack and the Beanstalk has it all.
Brave and handsome Jack, played by Will Breckin, must defeat the gruesome Giant to save his true love - and help save his broke family from a life of destitution.
Star of the show John Altman - aka ‘nasty’ Nick Cotton, the dastardly Eastender - plays a fantastic villain Fleshcreep; my three-year-old hid behind her giant foam hand when he first appeared but was soon booing with the best of them.
Scott Gallagher steals the show as Jack’s brother Simple Simon.
He’s a comic genius, and his silliness and sheer energy had us all in stitches.
Danny Posthill gives some great one-liners as the comical Dame ‘Dolly’ Durden.
Rosalinde, played by the radiant Hannah Marie Kilminster, is a beautiful songbird; everything a true princess should be.
And Shelley Anne Rivers is gorgeous as the good Fairy Vegetable.
The Giant, which does indeed live up to its name, is a feat of engineering and quite a sight to behold.
Some energetic dance numbers from Thornton Academy of Performing Arts had us all up shaking our thing by the end.
This is a great way to spend a fun-packed afternoon with the family; the kids will no doubt be talking about it for months to come.
Review: "Cinderella" 2014 - 2015
The Plaza. Stockport
It’s pantomime season again and Stockport Plaza have taken on the classic Cinderella for this year’s festive fun. The story is very well known and the rags to riches tale is great for this time of year and provides plenty of opportunity for slapstick, banter and good old fashioned tongue in cheek entertainment.
The jokes are corny, the costumes suitably outlandish and the set is a real delight. The presence of live musicians is a real treat. There are some lovely duets between Cinderella and Prince Charming.
Robbins though, is a pair of safe hands as Baron and engages both young and old with ease. His experience as a warm up man helps the show get over the odd bump.
An accomplished pantomime production which generally speaking, ticks all the boxes for a fun festive night / afternoon out.
There is little lacking from this show and it will certainly get you clapping and cheering, booing and hissing all the way through this season of good will.
Overall enough corny gags and energetic performances to keep all entertained in Stockport this Christmas.
What’s on Stage