Beans review at Canal Cafe Theatre, London – ‘a wry, spry adult panto’
This wry, spry little adult panto in the upstairs space of the Canal Cafe Theatre is a refreshing antidote to the sugary sweetness of most other festive theatrical fare.
Lesliey Longjohns and daughter Jacqueline live in a pokey London flat above a branch of Greggs. When Ivan Gregg, their evil landlord, threatens to sell the building to a hipster cafe, only a Fairy and some beans can help.
Written by Matthew Floyd Jones, the piano-playing half of comedy act Frisky and Mannish and writer and performer of Richard Carpenter is Close to You at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, this is a bright-eyed and spiky show.
Jokes about recently disgraced celebrities sit alongside an affectionately panto-spoofing grin of a tale about gentrification.
Fun re-workings of some camp pop classics are accompanied by musical director Katy Richardson on piano. These also cheerfully compensate for a clearly minimal set budget.
As Lesliey – here, a panto dame stuck in the real(ish) world, who wants to set up a dog hypnotherapy business – Michael Head is gruff-voiced, foul-mouthed fun. Roann McCloskey and Jessica Brady – alumni of comedy show NewsRevue, which is based in the Canal Cafe Theatre – add nicely to the mix as a Saffy-like Jacqueline and compulsively cryptic Fairy. In particular, Brady, whose manic-smiling Fairy is a cracked Blyton character on the verge of a breakdown, trills her way to being the show’s star attraction.
Jones’ targets – London rental prices and hipster culture – are familiar ones by now, but sparky writing and performances keep Tim McArthur’s production feeling fresh.
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.