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Jack and the Beanstalk review at Waddon Leisure Centre, Croydon – ‘patchy and uneven’

Jonny Awsum and Tim Hudson in Jack and the Beanstalk at Waddon Leisure Centre, Croydon. Photo: James Spicer Jonny Awsum and Tim Hudson in Jack and the Beanstalk at Waddon Leisure Centre, Croydon. Photo: James Spicer
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It was feared that when Fairfield Halls closed its doors for refurbishment in 2016 that live pantomime would disappear from the town. Stepping in, Q Productions, sister company to the Pauline Quirke Academy, mounted a pop-up Aladdin at Waddon Leisure Centre and the company is back this year with Jack and the Beanstalk.

While technically it’s no match for the same title over at Wimbledon, it features a slightly more engaging book, which at least allows Charlie Leonard’s Jack and Charlotte Bramwell’s sweetly earnest Princess Jill a little time together before being dragged off from Croydonia to Cloudland.

Eddie Dredge’s book contains an abundance of corny jokes and the score features spirited adaptations of Carwash and Let It Go. Lainie Baird’s direction however is fairly old-fashioned, although perhaps restricted by the make-shift staging.

Paisley Billings, from E4’s Tattoo Fixers, is rather wooden as Fairy Sweet Pea. Jonny Awsum fairs better as the indolent Billy Trott but Tim Hudson is not an accomplished enough dame to pull off the numerous meta references. It’s up to Steve Edwin, who hits the right tone as an enjoyably villainous Fleshcreep.

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Patchy performances and an uneven staging in an otherwise well-intentioned production