A traditional panto brimming with feel-good vibes, laughter and festive goodwill, Aldershot’s Jack and the Beanstalk boasts a cast of familiar faces who deliver polished and perky performances.
Tom Capper’s Russell Brand-style Fleshcreep is particularly entertaining, insulting the audience with with a hint of dandyish flirtation. A little bit of politics also (Flesh)creeps in amusingly when he labels Fairy Flora (Kluane Saunders) a “snowflake” and later deceives Jack and his brother Silly Billy into selling him their cow with the line: “I’m very posh and posh people can be trusted.”
Robert Hopkins, as Silly Billy, and Donovan Christian Cary, as his mum Dame Dotty Trott, are a wacky double act, constantly engaging with the audience and encouraging them to join in with the merriment (the audience member they pick on throughout the show gives a masterclass in sportsmanship).
Dancer Isaiah Mallet really stands out. He’s this panto’s Billy Elliot. Not only does he have the moves, he’s also full of personality and enthusiasm, delivering a star turn in an ensemble role.
The star of the show is Bryn Lucas’ Jack. He excels as the lazy but charming hero, who greets the audience with a Joey Tribbiani-style “How you doin’?” His interludes with his sweetheart Rose (Rachel Lea-Gray), in which they pay tribute to Titanic, are especially endearing.
Rather than hitching its success on a star name, Aldershot’s festive offering is all about quality. It might not be the most innovative of shows, but it doesn’t pretend to be – fun is the most important factor and on that it certainly delivers.