Review: Jack and the Beanstalk @ Lichfield Garrick

I’ve seen every one of Ian Adams’ scrumptious pantos since he first burst upon Lichfield’s festive scene and they’ve always been pure unadulterated delight.

But this year something special has happened. Because on a small-theatre budget he’s built a production that equals the biggest, most lavish Christmas spectacles in the land with colour, humour, special effects, great live music, superb performances all round, the very silliest kind of audience participation to bring out the child in all of us and enough seasonal good humour to launch Santa’s sleigh into space.

Ian Adams as Dame Trott and Graham Cole as Hemlock

Ian Adams as Dame Trott and Graham Cole as Hemlock

Oh, and did I forget the charm, and the kind of good taste that couldn’t offend the most rigid puritan in a show that had some very grown-up grown-ups screaming with laughter, standing up, sitting down, being sprayed with water and shouting out loud for joy. Plus a cast full of stars who really know their job.

What Mr Adams doesn’t know about panto isn’t worth knowing but as if that’s not enough he is also one of the great dames of all time. Funny, coy and charming as Dame Trott he is everywoman, never vulgar, all fun and frolics, his timing perfect, his rapport during the asides to the audience exquisite.

Jo Anne Stevens as Princess Jill and Dominic Griffin as Jack

Jo Anne Stevens as Princess Jill and Dominic Griffin as Jack

Graham Cole (The Bill) is a scrumptious bumptious baddie as Hemlock, Jo Anne Stevens a lovely Jill, Dominic Griffin a winsomely handsome Jack, Tony Stansfield a stately King Percival.

Look out too for Jordan Ginger exuding effortless star quality as Simon Trott – see him before he gets too big for us to afford!

Plus a cohort of really accomplished tiny tots, and we really mustn’t forget Morgan Scott and Xandy Champken as the delightful Daisy the cow.

Amazingly the second half of the show is even better that the first – the Flying Down To Rio sequence channelling the late great Stanley Baxter is worth the price of admission on its own.

The sheer genius of the stagecraft on display makes it the equal to any national production – it could go straight into the biggest theatres in the land.

Profoundly traditional it’s still fresh as Daisy’s milk and funny as all get out, with a company packed full of stars, a cohort of young people all at the energetic top of their game as seen in the wonderfully slick country and western finale.

Pure unadulterated delight. Space won’t allow me to say any more – just go and see it, all right, that’s if you can still get a ticket.

Jack and The Beanstalk runs at the Garrick Lichfield until January 3. For tickets phone the box office on 01543 412121 or go online at www.lichfieldgarrick.com.

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