Disclosure: We were invited to see this show for the purpose of this post however all opinions are my own.
Last night we were invited to see the Jack and the Beanstalk pantomime at Camberley Theatre. After not being able to visit for so long due to the pandemic it was so nice to be back, especially at Christmas. The theatre has had a facelift since we were last there and there was a real buzz about the place, everyone was just so happy to be there.
Jack and the Beanstalk
I remember the story of Jack and the Beanstalk fondly from childhood and it translates to the stage, in the form of a pantomime, really well. The Camberley Theatre show included everything you’d expect – Jack and his mum, a cow, a bag full of beans, a beanstalk and a giant!
There’s also Jack’s friend Jill, his brother Simon and a whole ensemble of characters who play everything from villagers to henchmen. I can’t forget Fleshcreep either – a pantomime wouldn’t be complete without the bad guy! Or, the fairy godmother character – this time in the form of Colin, a trainee fairy trying his best to earn his wings!
From the very start, Jack and the Beanstalk was full of fantastic music and amazing choreography. The setlist was superb and vastly eclectic. I couldn’t have imagined a show that featured everything from S Club 7 and Steps to Elton John, Lady Gaga and La Roux.
The songs were constant, fit the story perfectly and had incredible dance routines to go along with them. The whole cast gave every set their all and you could see how much they were really enjoying themselves. Plus, I’ve never seen a show where literally the whole audience were clapping along and singing throughout. It was a joy to be a part of.
As well as the singing, the acting was superb. Jack, played by Luke Drewell and Jill, played by Betty Jones were absolute stars of the show. Jack went from hopeless romantic to hero and Jill was one minute homeless and jobless, fixing broken milk floats and the next minute she was getting saved from the giant’s dinner table! The whole show was a real adventure.
Josh Harvey as Simon and Matt Ian Kelly as his mum, Dame Dolly Trott, were a fantastic double act. Their jokes were seamless and, unlike most pantomimes, the jokes weren’t written to offend or shock. Instead, they were written to have the whole audience laughing, even the youngest of viewers. It made for a really family friendly show.
The pantomime’s baddie, Fleshcreep, was great. Well acted and with so many boos from the audience! So much of the pantomime had audience participation and our children were completely engrossed throughout. They loved the characters, understood the jokes and were laughing constantly. The part of ‘Skullexa’ was one of their favourite scenes that they’re still talking about the next day. The kind of comedy we can all relate to.
One of my favourite things about the show was that everything turned out good in the end. It was lovely to watch Colin the fairy pursuing his dreams, seeing Fleshcreep change her ways and even the giant ended up being nice, having been misunderstood for so long. It was so uplifting to have such overly positive endings.
Jack and the Beanstalk has all the things you expect from a pantomime – he’s behind you, oh no he’s not plus a wedding at the end! It’s a show that the whole family would enjoy and it felt like West End quality. The whole cast were fantastic and you could tell how much work went in to such a polished performance. It was phenomenal and I’d happily watch it all over again. Great work Camberley Theatre, this is one we’ll remember.
Jack and the Beanstalk is on at Camberley Theatre until the end of December. You can see all the showtimes and book tickets over on the Camberley Theatre website.