Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Jack and the Beanstalk review at the King’s Theatre, Edinburgh – ‘brash and abrasive’

The cast of Jack and the Beanstalk at the King's Theatre, Edinburgh

Loud, brash and somewhat abrasive, Qdos’s Jack and the Beanstalk gets a slick Edinburgh veneer for the King’s ruling panto triumvirate of dame Allan Stewart (Dame Trot), daft lad Andy Gray (Hector) and villain Grant Stott (Fleshcreep). All three are on song, with Stewart’s musical impersonations, Gray’s vocal comedy and Stott’s local celebrity and footballing affiliations well used.

Underneath this, there’s a lot of panto spectacular, complete with inflatable ogres, giant’s head that looms out over the audience and a flying helicopter to take Dame Trot to Cloudland, creating a show that while big on thrills but significantly lacking in flexibility in terms of the script.

The result is topical, but not as up-to-the moment as it could be. There is little room for Stewart and Gray to take their double act off-piste and when they can, in the audience-participation sequences, there is an uncharacteristic cruelty to the gags.

Structurally, it is great to see a feisty Princess Apricot from the big-lunged and very capable Rachel Flynn, intent on getting Greg Barrowman’s Jack. Yet the changed imperatives for their characters don’t go quite far enough. There’s no faulting the tightly-choreographed supporting ensemble, however, who deliver high-kicking perfection.


We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
Entertaining and often spectacular panto that lacks flexibility and can be cruel and abrasive