SALISBURY Playhouse's pantomime offering is set to be "bigger and better" this year.

Jack and the Beanstalk starts its run from December 2 and is set to delight audiences of all ages.

Director Ryan McBryde and writer Andrew Pollard return with this latest pantomime show following their hits Aladdin and Cinderella in the last two years.

"We have gone to town this year," says Ryan. "This is my third one and probably the biggest one I have done yet, we are adding new things. This year it is just bigger and better. There is a giant in it so we've gone gigantic - pushing ourselves. I would like audiences to come out thinking that was a riot."

Richard Ede, whose stage credits include Horrible Histories, is returning to the Playhouse as Dame Trott after playing Widow Twanky in Aladdin last year. Sam Harrison, who has appeared in the national tour of Phantom of the Opera, plays Jack Trott.

Completing the cast is Steve Serlin, who plays Nightshade, and Tanya Shields who plays Princess Jill while Jemma Geanaus plays Fortuna, and JJ Henry stars as King Crackpot alongside Laura Crowhurst as Pat the Cow.

Ryan says: "For me every year I try and think about what the theme is. This year the theme is about courage and bravery, for Jack it's all about standing up to a bully and in this instance its Nightshade and the giant. The giant is the ultimate bully and they live in a tyrannical state run by the giant Bone Crunch."

To bring the show to life the cast have had to go through some rather unusual training including "giant training". There is also some flying in this year's show too.

"We have upped the ante this year," says Ryan. "Just creating the world for this one has been quite fun. Cinderella is about a fairytale world and Aladdin is set in Peking and you had that lovely oriental design. And this one we have set it in an Edwardian world, a cloud land world. There is a little bit of a Wizard of Oz type of feel to it."

Ryan believes they have put their own stamp on the popular tale.

As he explains: "The giant is quite different, he is not just like an ogre, he is a scientist and does experiments, which allows us to have some fun with some mind swapping."

And watch out for Pat the Cow, who is a new character that has been created for this production.

"In this one we have a new character, Pat the Cow, which is something I've never seen before. She is actually a character in herself, and I think that is a new thing."

On the secret of a good panto, Ryan says: "It is hard to say. For me I always think I have got to laugh at least twice a minute. There can be a chuckle, guffaw or a smile. With panto it has to deliver and constantly entertain.

"The secret of a good panto is to be able to make an eight year old and an 80-year-old laugh so there is something for everybody in there."

Jack and the Beanstalk runs in the Main House at Salisbury Playhouse until Sunday, January 7. For tickets or more information call 01722 320333 or visit