Jack and the Beanstalk at the Birmingham Hippodrome Review


JackBeanstalkBirminghamHippodromeJack and the Beanstalk
Birmingham Hippodrome

19 December 2014 to 1 February 2015


Reviewed by Shelley Owens

A giant sized portion of panto puns, side-splitting slapstick and breath-taking special effects!

After last year’s record breaking year at the Hippodrome they look to have struck pantomime gold again with the magical combination of animatronics, 3D special effects, side-splitting slapstick and fabulous sets! A strong principle cast with the chemistry to carry off the most hilarious of cock-ups and rip roaring routines had the audience rolling in the aisles, clapping along and totally captivated!!

Brilliantly produced by Qdos Entertainment, the audience were amazed by special effects including a helicopter flying out from the stage and hovering above them, brilliant 3D scenes in the Giants Castle and the animatronic giant himself looming over us.

Fabulously scripted with hilarious local references such as the giant wanting to fill his tummy with a “Yummy Brummie” and Edgbaston being so posh that they eat pot noodle from a plate, we laughed from beginning to end. We weren’t even offended when the panto “baddie” Fleshcreep (played by Corrie’s Chris Gascoyne) threatened to send everyone to “the barren wasteland of Wolverhampton” our home town!

Our hero Jack played by Duncan James (of Blue fame) is joined on his quest up the beanstalk to save the lovely Princess Apricot, by his brothers Silly Billy (Matt Slack) and Simple Simon (ventriloquist Paul Zerdin), his mother Dame Trot played by Gary Wilmot who “twerked” brilliantly to “All About That Base” and the lovely Enchantress Jane McDonald who delighted the audience with her singing throughout.

The cast’s chemistry is unmistakable with hilarious consequences, adlibbing and unforgettably funny moments that clearly were not scripted but only added to the atmosphere – Paul Zerdin and his talking hand when he came on without Sam, his dummy, has to be a personal favourite. A true professional, he carried on regardless in a classic “show must go on moment” that could easily be left in!

Our favourite scene has to be the Twelve Days of Christmas parody by Dame Trot, Silly Billy, Simple Simon and the Enchantress which we sang all the way home! The characters ran backwards and forwards in an increasing frenzy collecting props for the routine beginning with the fairy for the top of the tree and ending (finally and after some hilarious antics) with 12 Christmas Crackers and 5 toilet rolls expertly swung by Jane McDonald in between!

There were many highlights in this non-stop, slap stick comedy-come-stand up show with humour for all ages! Talented singing performances by Duncan James, Jane McDonald and Robyn Mellor (Princess Apricot), a fantastic orchestra and fabulous ensemble cast brought Birmingham some true panto magic! For me, Matt Slack stole the show with his hilarious impressions, puns and comical walks, causing much laughter amongst both the audience and cast! His scene with the Giants Henchman Fleshcreep (Coronation Street character Peter Barlow) with his Corrie character references and impressions was absolutely fantastic!

Fourteen year old Emily and I had a fabulous evening and like the rest of the audience, we left the Hippodrome positively buzzing! We highly recommend the show for great family entertainment and spectacular effects!

A firm 5/5 for us – grab tickets while you can!!!

Rating: 5/5 thumbs_up

Tickets cost from £14 to £40 (plus 5% transaction fee).

Jack and the Beanstalk is at the Birmingham Hippodrome until 1 February 2015. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 338 5000.

The Hippodrome is easy to find, centrally located, with plenty of restaurants and bars to enjoy a pre or post theatre meal. It is easily accessible by car and train. We usually drive in and parking at the Arcadian car park means you have a short walk to arrive at the theatre but this time we chose to travel by train to avoid Christmas shoppers and the theatre was just a 5 minute walk from New Street Station.

The theatre itself it a fabulous building with a large welcoming foyer. Refreshments are available on levels 1,2 and 3 with low level counter service for wheel chair users and interval drinks can be pre-ordered at any bar. The Hippodrome Restaurant is on the 3rd level and there are 2 lifts available to access each floor.

Staff are welcoming, friendly and polite and the building is immaculately clean.

Wheelchair users have easy access  via the automated doors to the right of the Hurst Street entrance and there are wheelchair positions located in most areas of the auditorium.

Birmingham Hippodrome, Hurst St, Southside, Birmingham, B5 4TB | 0844 338 5000


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