JACK AND THE BEANSTALK
Watermans Arts Centre, Brentford
Opened 5 December, 1990

Well, what's to say? Picky little criticisms such as why does the dame wear brown suede desert boots beneath "her" crinoline? Like why didn't Daisy the cow do more? Not really any point, is there? This is a modest affair which isn't aiming to bring 'em flocking in from all parts of the city (just as well, considering the Lord bath sent a plague of Beanstalks upon the land this year). It's the sort of panto where the kids in the audience probably know the ones in the chorus, and where references are made to distant and exotic realms named Richmond and Twickenham.

Terry Gleed's Jack provides most of the real energy, bowling along like the bastard son of Tommy Steele in Finian's Rainbow. In the face of this non-stop effervescence his foils dame and witch seem largely to be going through the motions. No, overall it ain't grand, but it does the job well enough with the tiny punters (my ears are still ringing); as Miss Jean Brodie has noted, "For those who like that sort of thing, that is the sort of thing they like."

Written for City Limits magazine.

Copyright Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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