Jack and the Beanstalk Review
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the annual panto at the Regent Theatre…
This year Johnny Wilkes and friends are back with Jack and the Beanstalk for a bigger, bolder and more outrageous show than ever.
A technicolour fun fest containing the best panto cliches – Review by Mel Osborne
This is Johnny’s 19th Panto at the Regent and probably the best yet.
A Pantomime is a Christmas tradition which brings everyone together to have fun and laughter. Gone are usual theatre rules – pantos are wild! For children it is the first introduction to theatre and for adults the time to enjoy being a child again.
Unlike the West end tours, you can sing along and speak at the cast. Oh yes you can!
This year reality TV star Noel Sullivan from Hearsay joins the cast as the evil baddie – Fleshcreep.
Johnny is Jack and Kai Owen plays his father Farmer Trot. They are joined by Michelle Andrews as Princess Jill and Rio Maye as The Spirit of the Beans.
Noel Sullivan is an amazing casting choice and makes an excellent villain with his strong stage presence with plenty of banter related to his stint on ‘Popstars.’
This year’s script was the sharpest yet with a healthy balance of child and adult jokes alike. Fast paced and quick witted there isn’t a second to get bored! It is jam packed with well-known pop and musical classics such as ‘Don’t stop me now’ and ‘If I only had a Brain’.
Kai Owen entertains the crowds with a witty song based around Stoke on Trent and the slapstick ‘I would be’ makes a come back this year.
The main feature of the show this year was the 3D adventure so make sure you pick your glasses up at the door.
Owen and Wilkes do an amazing job of walking through the 3D set and facing all the
weird and wonderful surprises along the way. There is of course a giant beanstalk and a not-so nice giant.
The stage setting radiates theatre magic as the scenes shifts seamlessly from one to another.
The production has gone to town on the sets and scenery plus there’s life sized animals that don the stage which includes a tap-dancing cow, whilst Andrews performs a beautiful rendition of “Talk to the animals” with some Llamas and pigs which are adorable.
The ensemble’s choreography undertook a carnival feel this year with bright techni-coloured costumes and giant butterflies dancing through the theatre. All this and an amazing lighting design made for an exceptional show experience.
A pantomime always brings out a great sense of community as it celebrates the city it is set in and there are gentle jibes and cheeky jokes about all areas of Stoke-on-Trent.
This is a show that doesn’t disappoint. Jack and the Beanstalk offers fun for all the family!
Jack and the Beanstalk is at the Regent Theatre, in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent until Sunday 7 January 2024. More details HERE
(All images Clara Lou Photography)