REVIEW: Jack and the Beanstalk, New Wolsey Theatre ✭✭✭✭

Paul T Davies reviews Jack and the Beanstalk, this year’s pantomime offering from the New Wolsey Theatre.

Jack Beanstalk New Wolsey Theatre
Steve Simmonds. Photo: Mike Kwasniak

Jack and the Beanstalk.
New Wolsey Theatre.
30 November 2021
4 Stars
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It’s so good to have them back! Audiences have two options to see the Rock N Roll Panto this year, in the theatre or live streaming at home. The incorporation of the camera and jokes about people watching at home work incredibly well, and gives Kate Gollerdge’s show a wonderfully interactive feel. If you’ve seen the New Wolsey’s Rock N Roll shows before, it’s exactly what you expect, corny jokes, near the knuckle gags, fart jokes, (possibly too many of them!), slapstick and great music!

New Wolsey Theatre pantomime
Danielle Piper and Neil Urquhart. Photo: Mike Kwasniak

Steve Simmonds is a great Dame Dolly Durden, making an instant connection with the audience, one man in particular! Nicola Bryan is a superb Fleshcreep, a real baddie, but one with a terrific singing voice. Neil Urquhart powers the show with tremendous energy as Jack and James Haggie returns to triumph as “silly” Billy, the gag rate increasing a hundred-fold when he enters. His singing voice is a terrific contrast to his high-pitched Billy voice. In fairness, it’s a very strong ensemble, including Daniella Piper as a spirited Jill and Daniel Carter-Hope gives an enjoyable turn as Squire Snuff Box.

Jack and the Beanstalk
Natasha Magigi. Photo: Mike Kwasniak

The design is excellent in all areas, filling the stage with colour effectively, and the video design and sequences by Jack Barinow and Peter Hazelwood fit smoothly and effectively into the narrative. (Including a superb giant.) Peter Rowe’s script hits the funny bone regularly, and the enjoyment of the cast is infectious! Perhaps the play list doesn’t feature much contemporary music for younger ears, and, like many pantomimes, it’s a tad long, but it’s great fun! An evening to lift the spirits after the last year or so.

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