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Jack and the Beanstalk review at Yvonne Arnaud Guildford

For the first time in years the Yvonne Arnaud has produced its own pantomime. The gamble has paid off.

The glue that holds the show together and helps the transition appear seamless is the regular quartet of Royce Mills, Lloyd Hollett, Peter Gordon and Gerry Tebbutt.

Mills does traditional dame as only he knows how while studiously avoiding the script.

Hollett is a wonderful Simple Simon and gets away with some outrageous double entendres – double enough for the panto to remain a family show.

Gordon, something of a local celebrity, overdoes King Kuthbert to great effect and Tebbutt directs with considerable pace.

Among the non-regulars, Bonnie Langford as Fairy Fuschia gets the chance to remind us what a wonderful voice she has and Kit Hesketh-Harvey’s exquisite diction gives added spice to his glorious villain.

Tebbutt plunders musical theatre rather than the charts so there is a great post-Glee, feelgood vibe to the show. But there’s still room for old gags and slapstick, such as a hilarious Twelve Days of Christmas, in which Hesketh-Harvey gets more than his fair share of ‘five custard pies’. There isn’t a weak performance in the show.

There are prop fails galore which all add to the fun, the giant is magnificent and the live three-piece band is the icing on the cake.

Production Information

Yvonne Arnaud, Guildford, December 2-January 8

Gerry Tebbutt
Yvonne Arnaud Theatre
Cast includes
Bonnie Langford, Kit Hesketh-Harvey, Peter Gordon, Lloyd Hollett, Royce Mills, Emma Thornett, Rebecca Tyson
Running time
2hrs 25mins

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