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Review: Books, Theatre, Albums, Movies and Gigs

Jack and the Beanstalk

Theatre Royal, St. Helens
December 6 – January 13

Author: Richard de Vere & Jane Brown
Director: Richard de Vere
Producer: Jane Brown for Regal Entertainments
Cast Includes: Richard de Vere, Marc Lawlor, Alison Crawford, Gareth Wilde,
Rudi Last, Chris Crookall, Andi Mac
Running Time: 2 hrs 15 mins.

Image: Jack and the Beanstalk Screen Shot


The joys of family entertainment are alive and well and living in St. Helens. Jack and the Beanstalk is everything a good pantomime should be, with fizz, bangs and wallops aplenty to keep even the eldest child amused.

The Theatre Royal is a lovely theatre. Cosy, warm and inviting, children queued around the block for this sell out performance in which illusionist, Richard de Vere, is simply sensational throughout. Not only is his stage presence in the role of Fleshcreep everything a good villain’s should be, so is his appreciation of the fact that it isn’t only children in the audience, as the double entendre’s fly without ever being too near the knuckle.

Excellent too is Gareth Wilde as Dame Trott, who keeps the laughs rolling in true panto fashion, with a vast array of costumes – and an uncanny resemblance to Matthew Kelly – complimenting his slick performances of songs, dances and jokes. Also impressive is Rudi Last as Jack, who has an astonishingly strong voice.

The set, although relatively simple to look at, was nonetheless highly effective, with some of the illusions quite simply jaw dropping. Indeed, the arrival of Stinky the Dragon and the “torture” of Alison Crawford’s Princess Jill – Semi-Finalist in ITV’s Grease Is The Word – is almost worth the admission fee alone.

But essentially it is de Vere who keeps the whole thing on track with some deadpan retorts that are rib-cracking at times, as surprise upon surprise roll out for the whole family to enjoy. Great stuff.



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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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