This panto has plenty to commend it, not least the amiable antics of Rik Gaynor as an endearing and energetic Simple Simon. With his natural warmth and cheeky ad-libs, he’s the star of the show, along with Gareth Davies as an excellent Fleshcreep. As well as being a fabulous Giant Blunderbore, Phil Price demonstrates impressive circus skills, while Natalie Law and Andy Steed combine well as Princess Amelia and Jack Trott.
But there are a few disappointments. For instance, the excitement that should accompany the revelation of the beanstalk simply doesn’t happen. Instead of a jaw-dropping moment when a decidedly climbable creeper slowly manifests itself, we have a cop-out piece of scenery that generates hardly a second glance. Similarly, the mundane production of a golden egg passes by almost unnoticed. These are critical moments that can add so much magic to a panto when presented more imaginatively.
Also, a promising slapstick scene involving bucketloads of goo ultimately delivers little. And Charlie Dimmock, who plays an able Fairy Organic, is strangely starved of horticultural references to link with her TV gardening expertise.
However, atmospheric sets, great dancers and classy costumes make this generally enjoyable, warm-hearted show a very stylish and ultimately satisfying affair.