Review: Jack and the Beanstalk, Buxton Opera House

Jack%20&%20The%20Beanstalk%20resized%20consThe children were singing, clapping, cheering and dancing in the aisles. What more evidence do you need to be certain that Buxton’s Jack and the Beanstalk is going to be a huge festive hit.

The intimate theatre is the perfect venue for such a show and the audience is made to feel part of the action from the opening seconds. In fact the schoolchildren were clapping along before the curtain had even gone up thanks to the great music played from the Opera House’s own orchestra pit.

This is definitely a family show and one that you can take your granny to without fear of a red face due to the over use of innuendos. It was all good clean fun (with the exception of the droopy wand belonging to Fairy Fabulous) and as a result it was all the more lovely.

With CBeebies’ Joseph Elliott in the role of Silly Simon you can expect a good rapport with a young audience and he didn’t disappoint. He gave a polished professional performance and delighted his young fans.

The Laurel and Hardy style slapstick scene with King Custard played by Buxton panto stalwart Mark Kempner was perfectly timed with just the right amount of exaggeration.

Adding to the comic frolics on stage was Dame Trott played by Steve Nallon best known to all of us oldies as the voice of Margaret Thatcher in Spitting Image. And, yes, the impersonator does manage to fit one gag from her into the script.

He handled the audience brilliantly and had them roaring with laughter while flirting with the unfortunate teacher Mr Peach.

Jack, played by Josh Little and Jill played by Alice Frankham provide the romance in this pantomime and they were a charming couple giving strong performances. Alice is a talented young singer and dancer and her warm personality won over the whole auditorium.

The panto’s Mr Nasty came in the guise of Fleshcreep played by Rhys Owen and he deserves plenty of plaudits for his superbly wicked version of the character. To top it all he was also a pretty good singer and dancer.

The special effects were also pretty impressive this year with one of the best beanstalks I have ever witnessed and the appearance of the giant on stage will have you jumping out of your seat.

And of course I shouldn’t forget to give a mention to Daisy The Cow played by Lauren McGloan and Ross McNeill. Their performance was very moo-ving. (It is a panto review).

Once again the Buxton show has been written and directed by Philip Dart. The musical director is Patrick Rufey, sound is by Terry Saunders, lighting by Guy Dunk, costume design by Jo Deaville and the choreography by Sally Brooks who also plays Fairy Fabulous.

The chorus is Gemma Hope, Bronte MacMillan, Liberty Rose Hall, Sophie Miles, Martha Burwood, Poppy Hart, Amelia Fitzgerald, Frances Cragg, Rachel McCann, Susannah Phythian, Holly Goodenough, Hollie Burwood, Sasha Brown, Keira Day, Jasmine Fox, Tanith Williams, Alexandra Johnstone, Eleanor Bristow, Abbey Levett-Smith and Louise Rawley. The chaperone is Catherine Sterndale, Bass Pete Hutchison and drums Rick Farrow.

The show can be seen at Buxton Opera House until January 3. For ticket details go to