Father and son Russ and Pip Randelle bring family circus clown credentials to appear in separate roles, Russ resplendent in make-up and costume as Dame Tilly Durden and Pip as the hapless half of the King’s Bailiffs duo playing daft Span to Chris Goldthorn’s sensible Spick.
The bailiffs’ lively entrance ringing hand bells through the auditorium signals comedy, music, singing, dancing and jollity in Happyville, with other veteran comedy performers injecting upbeat styles in a sunny first half, though many of the jokes are old and over the heads of children and it could do with more visual humour.
This need is met in an exciting second half with the appearance of the towering Giant Blunderbore, played by Paul Flanagan, a live miniature horse (because he could eat one) and black theatre sequence abounding in ghosts, skeleton, creepy crawlies and aliens.
Ben-Ryan Davies brings his TV soap cheeky-chappy persona to the role of Jack and has a good singing voice. Hayley Tomaddon is a spirited Princess Marigold. Matt Turnbull’s rat-like menace as Fleshcreep is no match for Victoria Holtom’s bouncy Vegetable Fairy.
Barnaby is a natural crown-pleaser as Jack’s brother Barney and shares comical sketches with Charlie Cairoli Jnr as King Stonybroke.