Jack and the Beanstalk

Production: Jack and the Beanstalk
Venue: Grand Opera House
Rating: ***

The pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, performed at the Grand Opera House York this December was everything you expect a small town panto to be. The word that best describes all the things that made it worth watching is probably ‘cute’. The child dancers were cute, the dialogue was cute, and the actors certainly attempted to be cute. ‘Funny’, however, is not a word that comes readily to mind.

This panto was mainly aimed at children and it was the younger audience that threw themselves enthusiastically into shouting the classic “oh yes he did”. However, it should be a good indication that even some children failed to laugh at the jokes. The comedy proved especially poor halfway through the performance, with a prolonged racist joke about the Chinese casting a sinister shadow over the jovial mood.

The costumes were entertaining, though not always in good taste. Tilly’s costumes, in particularly, were fabulous and amusing. The outfit inspired by a cow improved an otherwise average scene, and the gigantic bees affixed to another dress were very impressive. The dancers’ costumes were also remarkable, although in the final scene it looked as though the cast had been plucked straight from a low-end burlesque club. However, this was marginally better than the dance opening the second act, where the girls were dressed in short-shorts, fishnets and very little else. Worthy of their own panto, because of the near-hurricane they generated at each flutter, were the good fairy’s eyelashes. I am impressed that she managed to keep her eyes open.

Also very visually stimulating was the growing beanstalk and the giant, who was actually gigantically large. However, it must be said that the child dancers kept time better than the adults, and that much of the singing was pitched at a height where only dogs could hear it. However, from what I did manage to hear, the songs were well chosen popular classics. The inspirational message in the theme song was soppy but appropriate for the children in the audience.

Jack and the Beanstalk is aimed at children and they did seem to enjoy it. However, anyone over the age of ten must have an infantile inclination to go and watch this. Though not funny, this pantomime was most definitely fun

Jack and the Beanstalk is showing at the Grand York Opera House until 31st January

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