Reviewed by Amanda Hayes
The foyer was buzzing with excitement as we turned up to this afternoon’s performance of Jack and the Beanstalk at The Capitol in Horsham, West Sussex and there was hardly a spare place in the theatre as we took our seats. We were right in the back row but still had a really good view of the stage.
Act one starts with a welcome to Horsham District, as the pantomime is set in the old village of Horsham, Fairy Potter and the villain of the panto Fleshcreep. Scene 1 introduces Jack, who lives with his mother Dame Trott, played by Hywel Dowsell, and brother Simple Simon. Simon, played by James Fletcher from Channel 4’s Hollyoaks, soon gets the crowd going with some simple audience participation which follows through the whole performance and it’s not long before the stage is full of performers singing and dancing.
The pantomime follows the traditional story of Jack and the Beanstalk with the added bonus of love & marriage and the all-important panto villain. Chris Edgerley, (Children’s TV Hi-5 presenter) plays a brilliant part as the baddy Fleshcreep to the delight of the audience who boo his every move as he spars with his opposite number Fairy Potter played by Jill Greenacre.
King Crumble is brilliantly played by Richard Alan, and Jack falls in love with his daughter Princess Apricot. He soon finds she feels the same way for her to be taken up to Cloudland by villain Fleshcreep for his Giant master’s dinner.
Giant Blunderbore, not seen until act 2, is never the less very scary as his voice, done by Brian Blessed, booms down from the smoking vents above the stage. After he taxes the village more than they can pay Jack, played by Olly Pike, goes off to market to sell Daisy their favourite cow to earn some extra money. He soon bumps into Fleshcreep who buys Daisy off him for a bag of gold. On returning home is mother is upset and angry to find that he has been given a bag of beans not gold and throws them on the compost heap in disgust. In the morning they are greeted by a giant beanstalk and Fairy Potter convinces Jack to be a hero and climb the beanstalk up to Cloudland to rescue Princess Apricot.
I won’t tell what happens next as I don’t want to spoil the fun but it’s definitely a happy ever after and ends with a big double wedding.
The pantomime is seriously upbeat with loads of well-known songs to sing along to, excellent dancing and plenty of jokes which kept you entertained from start to finish. Princess Apricot, Lauren Osborn, had a fantastic singing voice and really shone on some of the slower numbers. Dame Dolly Trott is brilliant but our favourite had to be the villain Fleshcreep, you will need to come along to The Capitol to choose your own favourite.
Before, during and following the performance you can purchase drinks and snacks in the bar area or sandwiches and cakes in the café in the foyer. As it was Christmas and parking is very difficult in Horsham during the day we took the train as the station is a very easy 5 minute walk away. After 5pm however there is a car park opposite which can be used for theatre parking just be aware that the show is long, 2 and a half hours and put plenty of money in the meter!
Jack and the Beanstalk is a brilliant panto and my 5-year-old had a fantastic time as did all the other children in the audience. I highly recommend getting tickets before they sell out and don’t worry about which seat you chose, they all have a great view.
Tickets cost £21.50
Jack and the Beanstalk is at The Capitol in Horsham from 8-31 December 2017, for more information or to book tickets visit www.thecapitolhorsham.com or call the box office on 01403 750220.
The Capitol Horsham, North Street, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1RG | 01403 750220