5 December 2014 to 4 January 2015
Reviewed by Lora Hole
We attended the opening night of the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil’s Christmas pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk. This was my first trip to this theatre but we found it easy to locate. The Octagon has a large adjoining pay and display car park which is free after 6pm at night and all day Sunday meaning you shouldn’t have to pay if you are going to see an evening performance. We found the theatre building to have a modern interior and everything seemed very well looked after. All areas seemed impeccably clean including the toilets.
Our tickets were checked prior to entering the theatre and we were then shown to our seats by an usher. The staff at the Octagon are mostly volunteers including the ushers who we found to be extremely friendly and helpful.
The pantomime opened to the vegetable fairy explaining the background to the story set in a town called Gigglewick. The typical panto characters were then introduced to the audience. These included the villain, Flesh Creep aka Shorty, the princess, Princess Tamara, the hero, Jack Trot and the pantomime dame, Dame Trot. Amongst those introduced was our favourite of the night, Billy Trot. Billy provided a lot of humour and worked as a double act with Dame Trot throughout the play. They both worked hard to keep the audience entertained and made us feel we were part of the show. One of the funniest parts of the evening was when Billy invited children up onto the stage and interviewed them.
We found the whole production, including the set and costumes, to be of a far higher standard than you would expect of a small theatre. One of the highlights was meeting the giant family. We were really impressed with how they carried this part of the show out and we still aren’t sure how they managed to do it.
The pantomime started at 6.30pm and we didn’t leave until 9.20pm. The first act was one hour and fifteen minutes long followed by a twenty minute interval with the second act being the same length as the first. The age of the children in the audience varied widely yet the pantomime kept them all captivated for the entirety of the show and they were cheering and booing all night right to the end. The adults also seemed to be enjoying themselves and were joining in with the children.
We really enjoyed watching Jack and the Beanstalk at The Octagon and would return again in the future. We would recommend this as a great afternoon/evening out for families and the children, especially, would love it. It is great for the adults too and reminded me of the fun times I had when I used to go to panto’s as a child with my family. One thing I noticed was that there is a real feeling of community spirit amongst the staff and volunteers working for the Octagon. They give up their free time in order to keep the theatre open and do a great job at the same time.
Finally I would say be prepared to get a bit wet and if you choose to sit in the front row, you may get a bit more involved in the show than you thought!
Tickets cost from £13 to £19
Jack and the Beanstalk is at the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil until 4 January 2015. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 01935 422884.
The Octagon Theatre, Hendford, Yeovil, Somerset, BA20 1UX | 01935 422884