The acid test for any Christmas pantomime is whether it can keep a young child entertained for the entire length of its running time.
In the case of Leamington Spa Centre’s festive offering, Jack and the Beanstalk passed this test with flying colours.
With a child who has just turned three in tow, this reviewer probably had one of the youngest members of the audience to watch the show with.
And they not only watched with interest and contentment, but they also got involved with the cast and audience interaction and applauded regularly.
Showing that less can sometime mean more, this production uses a small but talented cast and a short but sweet story featuring a combination of popular songs - such as Wake Up Boo! by the Boo Radley’s and Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk - from over the years and a couple of show-specific numbers , and some well executed slapstick sketches to make the two-hour proceedings fly by.
It’s a familiar, fun to follow ‘Jack’ tale - the land of Merrydale where everything is happy and sunny is under threat of being thrown into permanent gloom due to the theft of the kingdom’s legendary singing golden harp at the hands of Fleshcreep, villainous henchman to the giant Blunderball who has ambitions to rule with an iron fist from his castle in the sky.
Cometh the hour cometh the woman dressed as a man in long boots as Jack, played in a suitably feisty and cheery style by Felicity Skiera, sets off on his quest to restore peace to the land and rescue the beautiful princess before the day is done.
Jack is bravely assisted by his mother Dame Trot, played by Spa Centre regular JP McCue, and his brother Simple Simon, played by Sean Dodds who is another who has returned by popular demand.
Dodds and McCue are very much the driving force of the panto and their antics and expertise are almost worth the admission fee alone.
But there’s plenty of spirit and charm to be found throughout the show and perhaps the biggest highlight and surprise was the giant himself, who is quite an impressive sight to behold.
For show times and tickets click here