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Panto review: Jack and the Beanstalk, Cambridge Arts Theatre

PUBLISHED: 15:47 13 December 2017 | UPDATED: 16:36 13 December 2017

Alexandra Waite-Roberts as Princess Kate and Tony Christie as The King in Jack and the Beanstalk at Cambridge Arts Theatre (photo: Richard Hubert Smith)

Alexandra Waite-Roberts as Princess Kate and Tony Christie as The King in Jack and the Beanstalk at Cambridge Arts Theatre (photo: Richard Hubert Smith)

Richard Hubert Smith

Cheesy one-liners and sing-a-long songs, Sarah Grosvenor loves Jack and the Beanstalk just as much as the kids

The cast of Jack and the Beanstalk (photo Richard Hubert Smith)The cast of Jack and the Beanstalk (photo Richard Hubert Smith)

Nowhere seems to love a panto as much as Cambridge Arts Theatre.

The tradition has been long established here and this year is no exception, Matt Crosby not only wrote this year’s effort but has a starring role as Dame Trott.

Set in the fictional town of Amarillo and starring no other than the song’s chart-topping star, Tony Christie, the panto was sure to delight from the start. Tony appropriately stars as the King of Amarillo and the tale follows the story of the Trott family’s sorry tale of poverty resulting in them selling their beloved family cow, Daisy, who gives an outstandingly funny performance. Stephen Beckett plays the baddie, Fleshcreep, who tries to buy Daisy in exchange for some gold, which turn out to be beans and so the tale begins. The play also follows the love story between Jack and Princess Kate and her resulting rescue from the Giant Gog Magog’s evil clutches.

With the usual cheesy one-liners and cringingly bad jokes, the panto has a modern theme with plenty of political quips and laughs for the parents. Children will not be disappointed as the cast set out to amuse them, resulting in one scene set in a milkshake factory starring Dame Trott and her son Simon (Robert Rees) which ends up in a hilarious mess.

Matt Crosby as Dame Trott (photo: Richard Hubert Smith)Matt Crosby as Dame Trott (photo: Richard Hubert Smith)

Poor old Tony keeps trying to sing and eventually manages to sneak in a fantastic rendition of Avenues and Alleyways and of course gives a belting performance of Amarillo towards the end, much to the delight of the audience. There is plenty of other popular music too with a bit of Ed Sheeran thrown into the mix.

Liza Goddard stars as the saccharin sweet Fairy Beansprout, alongside her three apprentice fairies, but during this performance the real star of the show was Zac, the poor man in the front row who Dame Trott took a shine to. But then it wouldn’t be a proper pantomime without audience participation and there was no shortage of that.

A real feel good family show for young and old alike, I highly recommend a visit, it won’t disappoint.

Jack and the Beanstalk is on until January 7.


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