Review: Jack and the Beanstalk at the Key Theatre

Key Theatre's panto for 2014 is Jack and the Beanstalk. EMN-140412-224614009
Key Theatre's panto for 2014 is Jack and the Beanstalk. EMN-140412-224614009
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The gruesome giant has fe-fo-fi-fummed his way into Deeping St Peeping to bring Jack and the Beanstalk to life at the Key Theatre.

His ogrish appearance was one of the highlights of the annual pantomime which while trying to stay “traditional” with its Dame and “Principal Boy” has infused live music and theatre with a talented cast of actor musicians.

The story is set (albeit very loosely) in the 1950s,so there is a little nod to rock n roll with the songs, which are quite catchy, and dance - although the adult leads are a distraction from the young ensemble.

It follows the trials and tribulations of Jack, his mother Dame Trott and a whole host of colourful friends as they bid to save their village from the big fella who lives at the top of the beanstalk.

Its fun without being fantastic or laugh out lound funny, and they certainly milk the jokes (they sell Daisy the Cow) for all they are worth but it doesn’t sparkle like pantos of the past.

There are some good, promising individual performances but for some reason - it’s a new and young cast early in the run - the chemistry isn’t quite there.

Joanna Sawyer is full of enthusiasm (but a bit too feminine) as bravest of the brave Jack, while debutant Silas Wyatt-Barke gives it his all and is quite endearing as Simple Simon - but they don’t bounce off each other the way you want them to.

Dame Trott (James Peake) is everything you would want in a Dame - including the command of alliteration - and has a few noteable, funny moments - perhaps the best late on with her beau the brig-adorable bish, bash, bosh Brigadier (the likeable Shaun Hennesey).

Jessica Guise shows off a lovely singing voice and makes a big impression, playing the part of Bella just right, likewise the excellent Robin Johnson as the giant’s nasty,spivlike henchman Fleshcreep, in his pork pie hat.

But pantolovers don’t worry, there are plenty of jokes, japes and audience participation to keep you stamping your feet, clapping your hands and cheering and booing. Oh yes there are.

- Jack and the Beanstalk runs at the Key Theatre until 4 January.

- Tickets are available now from the Key Theatre Box Office by calling 01733 207239 or by visiting