JACK AND THE BEANSTALK
Albany Empire, London SE8
Opened 13 December, 1990

In which two yo! tax-collectors rap about schoolboy smut, the family hovel is dolled up to impersonate a hotel in Greenwich, and the dame sports a truly impressive set of sideburns however, as it's ex-Flying Picket Brian Hibberd, this is no surprise. Nicholas Wynters's script strikes the desired liberal, ideologically approved notes without setting out to challenge or subvert panto traditions; the conscience-free gags are scattered amongst a generous assemblage of Grade II listed antique puns which turn out to be the shared passion of Jack and the Princess.

Judith Jacob is a little ill-at-ease during Jack's soppier moments, but for the most part swashes and buckles with gusto; s/he is given supernatural aid by the kind of Good Fairy you wouldn't want to meet up a dark alley. All the requisite flashes, bangs and wallops are present and correct (though there's only one oh-yes-it-is-oh-no-it-isn't routine), and the appearances of the Giant's foam extremities are moments to be treasured. So, laffs and groans aplenty for all ages and persuasions; more than Fairy Nuff, it's Fairy Nice, Fairy Nice indeed.

Written for City Limits magazine.

Copyright Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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