REVIEW: JACK AND THE BEANSTALK, THE MALTINGS
HOW can you tell when Christmas has truly arrived? When the decorations appear in the shops? Hardly. When the schools break up? Possibly. When the panto rolls into town? Oh definitely.
Well, Little Wolf Entertainment is back for a third year and after over two hours of slapstick and mayhem there’s no doubt the festive season is upon us .
This year’s offering is Jack and the Beanstalk – the culmination of 12 months of hard work dreaming up cringe-worthy jokes, colourful characters and ridiculous costumes. And, as always, the script and spectacular sets are tailor-made for the local audience reflecting the now familiar cast’s love for the town where they have chosen to spend three successive Christmases.
So the tale is set in Twittering on Tweed complete with ‘Gnome Bargains’ and ‘Caffe Nero Nuff,’ which is ruled over by King Percy of Prior (Peter Kenworthy) and his daughter Princess Jillian (Leona O’Sullivan). Crippled by the credit crunch and the demanding Giant Bogey, the king launches a lottery but the golden-egg laying hen and the golden harp are quickly snaffled by the giant’s henchman Cesspit (Dan Smith).
The would-be lottery winners Dame Trott and her sons Jack and Simple Simon are left poverty stricken and forced to sell their beloved cow Pat. But, of course, Jack is duped into swapping the cow for a bag of beans by the nasty Cesspit who also kidnaps Princess Jill and takes her off to the giant’s castle in the clouds.
Still with me? Well, it doesn’t really matter, Fairy Story (Kate Brennan) is on hand to keep everyone in the loop and, in any case, the whole caper is just an excuse for an awful lot of silliness which had the captivated children shouting and laughing all the way through. There were enough quips for the adults too with writer Morgan Brind once again stealing the show as the man-mad dame with her infinite supply of outrageous outfits. He and Alan Bowles, cast once more as the intellectually-challenged son, are a magical partnership throwing out one-liners and clever ad libs with obvious delight. And getting covered in goo.
Dame Trott’s more sensible son Jack (Benjamin Yates) proves his bravery by donning lurid lycra tights and scaling the beanstalk to rescue the princess. His earnest eye-fluttering and strong singing voice ultimately win her heart and she proposes. In fact, we end up with three weddings as the company belts out the final number ‘It’s Raining Men.’
As always, local children are taking part and clearly enjoy mucking in with the pros.
Jack and the Beanstalk continues until December 29.