Iain Lauchlan drops enough local mentions into his Jack and the Beanstalk to ensure that, combined with plenty of pantomime set-pieces and strong musical numbers, it is a proper piece of seasonal fare.
Mairi Cowieson’s direction has a nice pace and Lauchlan brings enough interesting little elements – the magic beans are a gift from Kim Shepherd’s good Fairy Nuff and Charis Murray gives a feisty twist to her Princess Tamara – to keep the story fresh.
Other elements are less welcome. Stephen Docherty is a lack-lustre Dame Trot who, for the first half, seems to be going through the motions – with none of the pace exhibited elsewhere – although there is a slight increase of purpose in the second half. Kamen Brown’s Jack suffers, too, from a lack of engagement.
It is only when Cowieson is working in tandem with musical director Linda Stewart that this really flies. Which means that, because the two magical characters Fairy Nuff and David Rankine’s Fleshcreep, get all the best tunes and lots of plot, they drive the whole production.
Both Shepherd and Rankine are great vocalists – but it does lead to potential structural issues. Rankine draws deserved and genuine applause for his lithe and flexible performance of I Need A Woman and his crisp stage presence is strong enough to ensure he also earns his boos.
This is a solid production that has rather too much unrealised potential.