Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Jack and the Beanstalk at Derby Arena – ‘dazzling and thoroughly engaging’

Bethan Nash as Princess Jill and Duncan James as Jack in Jack and the Beanstalk at Derby Arena. Photo: Robert Day

Morgan Brind is seemingly inexhaustible, writing, directing and designing for Little Wolf Entertainment’s outstanding Loughborough panto while also playing Dame Trott for the company here at Derby Arena. He’s educating a comparatively new audience in the ways of panto, and making a dazzling success of it.

This is a vast space, quite unforgiving when theatre was first introduced here. Little Wolf has managed to fill it and warm it, with big performances all round, good projection and happy engagement with a largely family audience. Flying sequences are magic on this enormous stage. There’s a very impressive giant and a winsome pantomime cow. The beanstalk rises magnificently out of a toilet.

It’s a cracking good script, too, delivered with impishness by a strong and dedicated cast. Brind has command of the stage (and the slapstick) in outrageous outfits that range from Rocket Man to a greenhouse and a Swiss Army knife. Duncan James uses his fine singing voice as a very personable Jack, Lawrence Boothman is the evil Cess Pit (“My uncle is Bottomless”) and Richard Brindley an energetic Simple Simon. Lovely performances too from Lizzie Wofford as Fairy Story, Bethan Nash as Princess Jill and Peter Kenworthy as King Dominic.

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
A dazzling and thoroughly engaging family show, a big performances for a big arena