With Cannon and Ball, silly deviation is very much their schtick. It’s just a shame that their talents are not harnessed to better effect in Qdos Entertainment’s chaotic production of Jack and the Beanstalk at Crewe Lyceum.
There are many elements to applaud as the fairytale unravels. The scenery and costumes are sumptuous and the slick choreography (by Thomas Spratt) fully utilises the depth of the Lyceum stage. This is especially so during Singin’ in the Rain, where twirling umbrellas and remarkable moves from George Sampson’s Jack create a stunning spectacle. But, like so much in the show, its narrative relevance seems difficult to discern.
The lack of a cohesive storyline gives the pantomime the feel of a variety performance, with disparate individual scenes that major in dance, stand-up comedy or magic. For a while it is hard to see how Cannon and Ball’s Tommy and Bobby Trot fit into the plot and relationships between the other characters are at times unconvincing. There’s little rapport between Jack and Princess Apricot (Kitty Harris), which undermines the sense of jeopardy as she is captured by Stefan Pejic’s villainous Fleshcreep.
As the Spirit of the Beans, Leah Godbold’s vocal talents and commitment to the script impress throughout as she endeavours to keep the traditional tale on track.
The largest laughs come from accidental moments of slapstick – such as when Malcolm Lord’s Dame Trot loses her wig – and yet more giggles by the three leads ensue.