REVIEW: Jack and the Beanstalk, Salisbury Playhouse

By Jane Sullivan

NOT feeling festive yet? Get along to Jack and the Beanstalk at Salisbury Playhouse and you'll be soon be full of festive cheer.

This year's offering - once again from the pen of Andrew Pollard - is everything panto should be: chock full of toe-tapping tunes and colourful characters, bright, bonkers and brilliantly funny.

Richard Ede turns in another flawless performance as Dame Trott. His wonderful comic timing and entertaining facial expressions are perfect for panto, and he skips effortlessly through a show full of topical gags, catchy pop songs and slapstick mayhem.

It's an impressive cast all round, with some fine singing voices and lovely comic acting.

Steven Serlin's evil Nightshade is sneeringly superb as the Giant's henchman, sent down from Cloud Land to collect taxes from the beleaguered kingdom below.

Our reluctant hero Jack is winningly played by Sam Harrison, whose search for courage quickly endears him to a delighted audience.

Of course, he finds love, too, with Tanya Shield's feisty Princess Jill, and the pair are helped in their quest to defeat the giant by a wonderfully entertaining King Crackpot (JJ Henry), and fairy Fortuna (Jemma Geanaus), who wowed the crowd with a very impressive singing voice.

Special mention must go to Laura Crowhurst's Pat the Cow - funny, loveable, and with another impressive singing voice, she took the role of the traditional pantomime cow to another level.

All the catchy tunes went down well - with great support from a clutch of talented young performers from Salisbury - but the all-cast rendition of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody was a triumphant highlight, and had us all crying with laughter.

The candy-coloured sets, whacky costumes, effective lighting and obligatory sprinkling of panto glitter all add to the fun - and a remarkably impressive giant is the crowning glory.

Jack and the Beanstalk is a giant Christmas treat. Catch it if you can. It runs until January 7

For tickets email or call 01722 320 333