I have see a few Hiss and Boo productions at the Riverfront now, last year’s Dick Wittington was wonderful with a few modern twists that I didn’t think could be rivalled, and Cinderella a couple of years ago was magical, I honestly wasn’t sure they could get any better, I was wrong.
This year’s pantomime offering from the Riverfront and Hiss and Boo company is Jack and the Beanstalk. The story starts with Jack, Jill, Dylan the Daft and Jack’s Mam all singing and bouncing around with energy I envy, but the plight of poor Mrs Trott was woeful, cue her cries of “Woe, woe and more than twice woe!” and the audience’s shouts of “CHEER UP CARIAD!”. Jack was of course nominated as the hero of the story by the lovely Fairy Liquid (Nerine Skinner) with a curtain of bubbles, and he sets off to sell Daisy the cow so hope was restored we thought…
The audience participation in this panto is great, as always the children in the audience were just waiting for their chance to shout and cheer, and there was plenty of opportunity, from the cheering up of Mrs Trott, to giving Jack a bit of a confidence boost and of course the booing and hissing at the very convincing villain Fleshcreep (Patrick Marlowe), there was plenty for everyone to get involved with. The song that Dylan the Daft taught us was well received and loud too!
“That’s the burning question, it burns like indigestion!”
As we were led through the familiar story it was great to see such an engaging and entertaining performance, I did miss Lee Mengo this year but I would say that Jack (Gareth Tempest), Dylan (Richard Elis) and Mrs Trott (Simon Nock) provide a firm basis for the story to build on, and the alternative ’12 Days of Christmas’ segment from the trio had myself and many others rocking with laughter, I won’t give it away but the sound of laughter around the theatre was proof it was a hit, and I think Simon Nock and Richard Elis were a fantastic team, bringing masses of humour to proceedings, even with the terrible jokes from Dylan the Daft.
Even though Jack was nominated as the hero, it was Jill played by Elin Llwyd who was the bravest character by far, Elin’s performance didn’t disappoint and she was certainly ready to fight that mean giant herself if necessary, I really enjoy Elin’s performances in these pantomimes and was pleased to see her name in the program again this year.
The next thing we knew it was time for Jack to overcome his fears and defeat the giant Gogmagog who was preparing to eat the stolen Daisy and Jill for his dinner. The story moved along quickly and the adventures along the way were well thought out, plus the scenery changes were fantastic. But the star of the show for me was without a doubt the special Gogmagog who is magically controlled by Jamie Anderson, I don’t know how it all worked but I was really impressed! Absolutely brilliant.
I also think it’s important to mention Daisy the cow, it really can’t be easy stuck in that costume mooving (see what I did there?) around to the music in time, and I take my hat off to Emma Anderson and Natalia Iles for their great and well timed performance too.
As we reached the end of the show and each character met their demise or found their happly ever after (no spoilers here), we were left with a nice big dose of Christmas spirit and happy children all round I think, and this is without a doubt the best panto we’ve seen. This was the first panto my friend’s little boy has ever seen and apparently he didn’t stop talking about it the next day, and considering he is still very young he sat through the whole performance without getting bored, I think that speaks volumes.
I have to applaud the whole cast and crew for not just entertaining the youngest and older children but the adults too, that’s not easy to do I imagine. The singing and dancing from all the dancers was excellent as well, which helped.
If you are thinking of booking tickets for Jack and the Beanstalk at the Riverfront I don’t think you will be disappointed, I definitely think this is the best one yet.
Thank you to the Riverfront for inviting us to another fantastic production, we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!
Tickets can be booked here- Riverfront