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“JACK & THE BEANSTALK”     


Once again Griffins had transformed the Riverside Suite at Venue 360 to a fully functional theatre, with raked seating and all the facilities of a proper venue, which helps make this a good theatrical experience.


I was fortunate enough to see both family pantomime performances on the same day, as there were two sets of children involved.  


Technically the production was good, lighting from Dave Houghton and his crew maintained its normal high standard, I particularly liked the lighting on the front drop, it made it look fantasy-like.  Mostly sound was good, a couple of late mic cues, but overall worked well.  


The set was suitable and the backcloths etc maintained well.  I liked the clouds set, it added interest and gave the cast another level to move within.  However there were some overlong blackouts that needed some musical underscoring.  


Costumes were colourful throughout, and looked fresh and suitable for the characters.


Charlotte Tabert the MD had a small but good-sounding band, and the music chosen fitted in well with the story, showing off the characters musical skills.


The production started well, I really liked Carl Connelly as Fleshcreep – he was a very good baddie, we certainly enjoyed boo-ing him, he projected well, and had lots of expression – I loved the Little Mix section, when he showed a completely different persona!  He certainly looked the part too.


Kirsty Day was a fun Vegetable Fairy, with her ever-growing leek as a wand – Kirsty is always very full-on, which helps lift the rest of the cast.  I enjoyed her and Fleshcreep’s duet, they interacted well.


Forest Jones created a good Jack, in his first pantomime.  He got the devil-may-care attitude, interacting well with the other cast members and singing his numbers well, with expression – I liked his relationship with the Princess played by Alice Hayden.  Alice gave the Princess a very charming but feisty character, she sang nicely too and related well with the audience.


Lorna Trapp was a super Mrs Blunderbore, she was funny and gave it her all, Lorna is a very accomplished performer, and I loved her Little Brats number, so funny, and elicited a good response from the junior chorus.  


The two different sets of children, Daisies and Buttercups, were fairly evenly matched in their skills, and their commitment to the choreography and musical numbers.


The adult ensemble created a jolly set of characters, with some very good choreography in the musical numbers.  The Ugly Bugs was a very well-conceived number, I loved the array of bugs and their costumes.


Silly Billy was very well played by Matt Collins – he gets the essence of the typical stupid lad character, plenty of enthusiasm, which was fun.


Tim Hayden gave his usual high standard performance as Dame Trot, he has a great understanding of how to craft his characters.  I thoroughly enjoyed his performance.


The rather bumbling King Satapon was played by Martin Pursey, his entrance was good in the litter carried by Spick & Span, and I enjoyed his song with the Dame.


Spick and Span were played by Daniel Farmer-Patel and Abi Houghton respectively, they brought plenty of energy to their roles, with good projection, I liked what they did with the parts.


The Town Crier, Clarence Clanger, was nicely played by Paul Rogers.  I liked the slapstick scene with Clarence, the Dame and Billy, it was well done.


Even Buttercup the cow – Luke Murphy and Sam Collins, had a nice character going – plenty of head movement etc – well done.


Overall a good pantomime with plenty of audience interaction – which could have done with more enthusiasm and pace, and some judicious cuts.  However, that said, I had a good time and it was a good start to the year!
















GRIFFIN PLAYERS -  “JACK & THE BEANSTALK”

review date: 9th January 2016

The Riverside Theatre at Venue 360

Director: Gary Nash & Eileen Kirby

MD: Charlotte Tabert  

Choreographer: Jackie Houghton Asst: Kerry Collins

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