Welcome! This is your first free article. Get more free articles when you sign up with your email.

Jack and the Beanstalk

“An amusing mash-up”

This year’s Mercury Theatre pantomime takes the seed of a traditional fairytale, Jack and the Beanstalk, and feeds it a Miracle Gro elixir of Star Wars, Queen and Disneyfied pop songs.

Written by Daniel Buckroyd, it’s an amusing mash-up that scores points with the younger audience members, but wilts when it comes to scripted jokes or witty one-liners.

Our lad Jack (Craig Mather) is a self-confessed ‘numpty’ caught playing with a floppy leek by his sweetheart, Princess Jill (Madeleine Leslay). His pet, Daisy the cow, has been turned into Day-Z, the bovine version of Mr Beyoncé who is played with obvious enthusiasm by Dale Superville.

Alongside them is Carli Norris’ Gladys, a trainee Fairy Godmother who’s got her wand mixed up with her knitting needles, and Fleshcreep (Ignatius Anthony), a slightly steam-punked villain who enjoys antagonising the children.

As Dame Trott, Antony Stuart-Hicks’ comedy style is generally restricted to being mean to the audience (presumably to pre-empt them being mean to him). At points it gets a good reaction from the crowd but at other times it sits awkwardly with the rest of the family-friendly show, especially when the jokes aren’t funny – such as an ad lib gag about the Irish stealing handbags.

As a whole, it’s a tad underwhelming and lacking in true sparkle, despite all the effort put into make David Shields’ set design a glittering storybook world. That said, the poptastic soundtrack offers plenty of chances to join in, as the crowd does with gusto.


Production Details
Production nameJack and the Beanstalk
VenueMercury Theatre
StartsNovember 24, 2018
EndsJanuary 20, 2018
Running time2hrs 45mins
AuthorDaniel Buckroyd
ComposerRichard Reeday
DirectorAbigail Anderson
Musical directorDan De Cruz
ChoreographerCharlie Morgan
Set designerDavid Shields
Costume designerDavid Shields
Lighting designerMark Dymock
Sound designerChris Bogg
CastIgnatius Anthony, Antony Stuart-Hicks, Carli Norris, Charlotte Coles, Craig Mather, Dale Superville, Madeleine Leslay, Phil Sealey, Samuel Knight
ProducerMercury Theatre
VerdictYe olde England meets Star Wars in good-but-not-great pantomime
Add New Comment
You must be logged in to comment.
Rosemary Waugh

Rosemary Waugh

Rosemary Waugh

Rosemary Waugh

Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue

Invest in The Stage today with a subscription starting at just £3.98
The Stage
© Copyright The Stage Media Company Limited 2020
Linked In