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Jack and the Beanstalk review at Georgian Theatre Royal, North Yorkshire – ‘unmissable and incredibly refreshing’

Lawrence Swaddle, Gary Bridgens, Emily Essery and Jake England-Johns (as the Giant) in Jack and the Beanstalk at Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond, North Yorkshire. Photo: Dave Cooil

How eccentric, and ridiculously clever, of writer/director Tony Lidington to send in the clowns and make Jack part of the Circus legume family. This travelling troupe of timeless circus artists tell Jack’s story while performing aerial acrobatic wonders.

The story is the same, with a loveable panto camel instead of a cow, plus all the traditional business and singalong songs from a talented Pierrot clown band. Kelly Jago’s design is a delicious big top of red and white stripes, the jingle of gold fringing and a proper circus ring.

Clowning around with a nod to Grimaldi is the doom-laden giant, Mighty Mung, a huge puppet clown, beautifully animated by Jake England-John. He also produces a sizzling performance as the ringmaster, as well as the insanely silly little Mungo, who wears shoes on his knees.

When she’s not dangling upside down playing the saxophone, Natalie Verhaegen makes the boos count as bad girl Hettie Heinz, a sort of Lady Gaga meets Jessica Ennis character. Down-to-earth Barrovian Gary Bridgens is fabulous too,  as the risque fortune telling dame, Ida Bean, a not-so-small medium at large.

Verdict
Panto meets circus in an unmissable, incredibly refreshing show full of crazy audience stunts and madcap buffoonery

Production Information

Venue
Georgian Theatre Royal
City
Richmond, North Yorkshire
Starts
December 1, 2015
Ends
January 3, 2016
Press night
December 8, 2015
Authors
Tony Lidington
Musical director
Daniel Bowater
Choreographer
Kelly Jane Allinson
Design
Kelly Jago
Lighting
Tony Wilcock
Costume
Bianca Ward, Naomi Parker
Production manager
Tony Wilcock
Cast includes
Jake England-Johns, Gary Bridgens, Lawrence Swaddle, Emily Essery, Natalie Verhaegen
Producer
Georgian Theatre Royal
Running time
2hrs