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  • By Paul Kiely

Sydney review - Jack and the Beanstalk: one for the whole family


Photo by Robert Catto

Jack and the Beanstalk

Directed by Bonnie Lythgoe

A Bonnie Lythgoe Production

State Theatre

49 Market Street

Sydney

Season: 12-21 July Duration: 120 Minutes plus 20-minute interval. Bookings: www.ozpanto.com

“Once upon a time” …. children of all ages love a good fairy tale. They are short stories with strange characters or creatures often with a romantic twist and a message on ethics or morality. They stay in our subconscious minds well into adulthood.

And so, it is with Jack and the Beanstalk, a staged pantomime now showing in Sydney’s glorious State Theatre.

Directed by Bonnie Lythgoe, this production is outstanding and appeals to the young and young at heart. Best described as a musical comedy, Jack and the Beanstalk tells the story of how Jack Trott (Lachlan Dearing) mistakenly sells the family dairy cow for a bag of beans, thinking it’s a bag of gold. His distraught mother Dame Trott (Malcolm Lord) throws the beans out of the window in disgust. With the magical intervention of Fairy Crystal (Lucy Durack), a beanstalk reaching beyond the clouds grows overnight. This enables Jack to redeem his senses, overcome giant obstacles, obtain great wealth, rid the Kingdom of its demons and find the love of his life. Not bad for a teenager!

The quality of production was terrific! Big, colourful sets, outlandish costumes, impressive choreography and startling lighting effects kept the audience enchanted for the whole show. Sound effects and acoustics were perfect.

An impressive innovation was the portrayal of the Giant’s castle in Act 2. The live performers were immersed in a digital backdrop with amazing effects coming right at you from the stage. The audience were in stitches, especially the two kids in front of me who dodged, ducked, weaved and screamed with laughter throughout the segment. Their excitement was infectious!

Of course, success doesn’t happen without a charismatic cast of characters. A pantomime gives all the leads the chance to shine as they slip the occasional hint of their own personality into their roles. With the freedom to ad lib and talk directly to the audience, all the cast were in their element and were clearly enjoying their tongue-in-cheek performances. The audience reacted in kind with boos and hisses when Freddie Fleshcreep (Luke Joslin) appeared or cries of encouragement when hero Jack took the stage.

An audience favourite was Simple Simon Trott (Jimmy Rees). He helped to narrate the story and involved the youngsters with his popular flossing dance routine. Another comical skit adapted the ‘Who, What and I Don’t Know’ routine made famous by Abbott and Costello.

Other cast members performing with zeal were Anastasia Feneri as Princess Jill Crumble, Peter Rowsthorn as King Able Crumble and Richard Reid as Bumble the Lord Chancellor. Also, let’s not forget Daisy Buttercup the Cow and the menacing voice of Giant Blunderbore. The ensemble comprised an additional twenty-two performers, so there was plenty of movement and action to enjoy.

Jack and the Beanstalk did not disappoint to entertain. It’s one for the whole family to enjoy and at 120 minutes plus interval, you’ll get your moneys worth plus more. I recommend seeing and may you “live happily ever after”!


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