Jack and the Beanstalk,
**** 4 Stars
“ everything classic panto firing on all cylinders should be !”
Qdos mark there 3rd year in charge at the King’s theatre Glasgow by bringing a pantomime to the bath street that hasn’t graced the stage in 25 years. Jack and the Beanstalk is back and following in last year’s stellar Aladdin they continue the old school charm of the big hearted, family inspired pantomimes that have called the King’s home for decades.
The classic tale of the famers boy Jack (Johnny Mac in fine form further cementing his growing legacy with the kings panto) who lives with his mother Dame Trot (Legendary Elaine C Smith proving a woman can be as good a dame as any man) in the village of Glasvegas. Times are hard and while Jack may secretly love Princess Jill (Naomi Cowe) things take a dark turn when the evil Mrs Blunderbore (Anne Smith in a fine villainous turn) doing the bidding of her Giant husband kidnaps The princess, and takes the Trots trusty cow daisy in return for beans! These beans are magical and with Mammy Nature (Angela Darcy) spreading her magic the biggest of beanstalks towers over the kings as the gang led by the King Hector (Jonathan Watson) are off on a big adventure in Cloud land.
This show is everything classic panto firing on all cylinders should be, stunning costumes, a colourful Hugh Durrant inspired set that sparkles under Alex Marshall’s excellent lighting design. Added to the mix is some very big special effects from those boys at Twins FX, it’s a winning formula.
Director and choreographer Johnny Bowles clearly knows how to bring big and classic pantomime to life and with the stellar due of Smith and Mac at the helm you cant help but be won over by its charms. Musically it’s a jukebox of hits from 70’s pop tunes to musical moments like “talk to the animals” and Elaine C Smith delivers a stunning take on “Cher” if she can just turn back time! And it is helped no end by musical Director James Dunsmore and the 5-piece King’s orchestra.
However, unlike 2017 Sleeping Beauty and 2018 Aladdin it feels like the extra magic sparkle is missing from this year’s show, its partially the decision to use Mrs Blunderbore as the villain (side stepping flesh creep) and the story line in act 2 is rushed to quick conclusion. Also, in previous years both Smith and Mac had JP Corrigan to bounce off and create real comedy magic that element isn’t there this year so all the comedy falls to Smith and Mac it feel like a slightly missed opportunity. The many and varied sketches are plentiful, and the comedy within them works well especially the adlibs both rehearsed and unrehearsed.
These minor quibbles aside this is fun family show with tradition as much as it can be at its heart with Elaine C Smith and the wonderful Johnny Mac leading its truly impossible not to enjoy yourself and roll along on the adventure.
Both Smith and Mac have been announced for next years “Cinderella” which again will allow for traditional pantomime to reign supreme at the kings. For now ever pop along and enjoy Glasgow’s biggest pantomime in every way!
Qdos Presents “Jack and the Beanstalk”, Kings Theatre, Glasgow, Runs until Sunday 5th January 2019 Tickets from £17 go to https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/jack-and-the-beanstalk/kings-theatre-glasgow