Review: Jack and the Beanstalk

First published in Entertainments

SOUTHAMPTON’S Mayflower Theatre has pulled out all the stops with this year’s pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk.

With big stars, huge musical numbers and giant special effects, this show is loud, exciting and funny.

The audience seemed so wowed by the dazzling first song and array of celebrities before them, that it took a little while for them to remember they were at a pantomime and start joining in.

But once the very impressive ventriloquist Paul Zerdin took to the stage, the laughs came thick and fast.

Zerdin and his puppet Sam were a real highlight, interacting with the audience and bringing plenty of traditional panto banter.

In places this show feels more like a variety show with each of the stars doing what they do best – Julian Clary prancing about, Lee Mead singing beautifully and Nigel Havers being dramatic – but once the story gets going the cast gels together more effectively.

The special effects are very impressive with pyrotechnics, lighting, lasers and technical wizardry that had the children gasping with amazement. The scenes once Jack gets around to climbing his beanstalk are done in 3D to great effect.

Young or nervous children might not be too keen on donning the glasses and coming face to face with creepy crawlies, but for those who love being scared it’s fantastic.

With a West End quality dance troupe, well known songs and a rapping cow, this lavish pantomime is an exhilarating watch and sure to be a hit.

JILL HARDING

* Jack and the Beanstalk is on at The Mayflower theatre, Southampton, until Saturday, January 19.

Tickets 02380 711811 or mayflower.org.uk.

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