Christmas is not quite complete without a puntastic panto of laughter, sing alongs, boos and water pistols (and yes they were real ones filled with water). This year I was to attend not just one, but two!
My first panto was Jack and the Beanstalk at the Lighthouse in Poole and I was on the guest list to attend their press evening. Making my way to the correct entrance, then my seat I couldn’t help but get excited – there’s nothing quite like screaming and booing your lungs out to end a stressful day!
I was seated in the centre, so I had a really good view of the whole stage. The whole theatre was packed with families, friends and kids armed with flashing toys. It wasn’t long until the audience conversation dulled, the lights dimmed and the story was introduced.
I won’t tell you the story as I’m sure you’ll want to see the many twists in the tale for yourselves, but I will tell you that there’s not one thing I can fault in this panto.
Tom Bright, director, script writer and Dame Trott did an amazing job in setting the scene and telling the story. I was very entertained by his character, Dame Trott who made the show for me. Not only were his lines funny, but really current and clever too. It’s always great when a joke can be taken two ways – innocent to the kids and crude to the adults. Not to mention the hilarious gag of making the audience scream ‘Knickers’ every time somebody went near them!
Patrick O’Kane played a really believable baddie, Fleshcreep. He had the look and the evil spiel down to a tee. Even as an adult I couldn’t help but boo every time he came on!
As a fan of actress Debra Stevenson, best know for her roles in Bad Girls and Corrie I was overjoyed to discover that she was playing the main character, Jack. Her impressions were impressive – she even got kids up on the stage to give some a go too, her singing was really good – which is pretty rare for the usual panto and her lines made me laugh! All in all I don’t think the Lighthouse could have picked a better person to play Jack.
Somebody else who definitely deserves a mention is Dan Looney who plays Simple Simon. He was charming, witty and really funny. To me his jokes were on par with Dame Trott’s. Great work from a great guy!
Overall the level of singing, dancing and acting talent were really high, it really did surpass all of my expectations! I must also comment on the quality of the stage sets. The level of detail that went into those finely constructed pieces was outstanding. I take my hat off to the team who put them together!
I was also really impressed with the fact that this panto had an actual REAL giant. I’ve seen constructed feet before, but I’ve never seen an actual all moving, all blinking real giant before. To top it off, Daisy the cow was realistic, cute and she had moving eyes too – oh yes she did and Jack even flew – and he didn’t even need any wings!
The talent all the way through to the props were to the highest standard that I think I’ve ever seen in a panto. This is one for all of the family that comes highly recommended from a cynical being. Miss it, miss out!
Jack and the Beanstalk is on at the Lighthouse until 5 January 2014 so grab your tickets now!
Words by Michelle Stannard
Photography courtesy of the Lighthouse and Hattie Miles