Review: Jack and the Beanstalk at The Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham

A PANTOMIME has to be fun-filled, loud and a little cheesy and the Everyman’s offering – Jack and the Beanstalk – has them all in abundance with a modern twist.

The true measure of a panto is of course what children make of it so we took our grandchildren – five year old Olivia and seven year old Matilda to see their opinion of Samuel Holmes’ work who codirected and wrote this charming take on an ancient story.

From the opening beats of Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop the Feeling the girls were hooked and drawn into panto world 100 per cent.

Samuel Holmes, who also stars as baddie Captain Fleshcreep had the audience booing with gusto – giving that perfect mix of villain who isn’t too scary while giving an actor’s performance to help move the show along at a pace.

The story has been written especially for a Gloucestershire audience in the hamlet of Stow on the Wold which is facing disaster in the form of a makeover from the fabulous Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen who also gave his voice as the giant.

The songs were great and taken from modern day culture mixing Justin Timberlake with Curtis Mayfield and Taylor Swift. Using modern songs like these helped to create a real current, modern feel for the show and they really brought our two girls into their own.

This is a full interactive show with lots of shouting and audience play involved so please get ready to shout “He’s behind you” throughout the performance.

Tweedy the clown gave an absolute vintage performance – this is his 10th panto at the Everyman and you can tell his at home here – from superb physical comedy to simple slapstick which had the audience enthralled.

Tweedy’s 12 Days of Christmas performance was superb. The dancers did an amazing jo – thoroughly well rehearsed routines, well done.

From the moment Tweedy stepped onto stage you really felt as though this was a proper Gloucestershire show with its clever weaving in of local references throughout.

There is an epic set which works wonderfully for all the action – including a growing beanstalk and a Red Arrow airplane in full flight above the audience.

A top class panto for The Everyman in every sense.

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