Reviewed by Jan Mellor
Having a panto so late after Christmas seemed a strange idea (dates for the panto are 5-14 January 2018) but on entering the very packed Parr Hall in Warrington it was obviously still a popular activity to do even after Christmas, with the sight of giggling children waving their flashing swords and stars in glee. The stage had an impressive set (with the stalk surrounding the parameter of the stage) which changed (traditionally with the draw of a curtain) throughout the performance to take us to the wondrous worlds of villages, castles, atop the beanstalk and even in the very kitchen of the giant. The panto was a great mixture of dance, audience participation, tongue-in-cheek jokes, farce, slapstick humour and sheer entertainment. The show was led by two amazing stars; Silly Billy played by Mike Carnell and Dame Tilly Trot played by Phil Beck (who also wrote the storyline) but the other leads Louise Willoughby (Jack), Dave Kustard (Flesh-creep), Lori-Suzanne Kellet (Jill), Nick Fawcett (King) and Charlotte Buxton (Fairy Sweet Pea) all gave great performances and had talented singing voices. The songs were modern, including Little Mix and Britney Spears (so related to the audience) and the children in every row in front of us were up on their feet and dancing and singing along at every opportunity, there were special effects that had the children in awe and some cheeky jokes to entertain the grown-ups.
The pantomime had all traditional aspects you expect – it had the desired “it’s behind you!” and “Oh no he didn’t!” with fantastic ‘dame’ costumes, sing-a-longs and the pantomime cow (Daisy) – to ensure that it was a REAL panto in every sense of the word (the giant was very well done and we got to see him and not just his feet as in previous pantos!). The show was over two hours of great entertainment and had a real family feel being in the local theatre. Silly Billy had youngsters up and performing on stage and the audience (especially the respective children’s parents) adored it. There was something in the show for everyone and is a must see for any family to start their 2018 with laughter and cheer!
A real traditional pantomime – a great start to the New Year!
Tickets cost from £10.50 to £40 (booking fees may apply).
Jack and the Beanstalk is at the Parr Hall in Warrington from 5-14 January 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.pyramidparrhall.com or call the box office on 01925 442884.
Pyramid & Parr Hall, Cultural Quarter, Palmyra Square South, Warrington, WA1 1BL