With its multi-instrumentalist cast and musical direction from Tayo Akinbode, Theatr Clwyd’s Jack and the Beanstalk is a panto that properly rocks and rolls.
But this is only the half of it, because what writer Christian Patterson and director Zoe Waterman deliver here is a great family show. In fact, the generosity of its ensemble makes the whole thing feel like a real family affair, under the gentle matriarchy of Phylip Harries’ outstanding Dame Tegwen Trott. There is palpably so much love and care in this production that it can’t fail to warm the heart.
It’s a show with plenty of girl power too, pairing Peter Mooney’s loveable Jack with Jessica Jolleys’ wilful Jill, and giving a large part of the narrative to two feisty fairies, Daffodil and Poison Ivy.
Patterson has also taken a more balanced approach to Jack’s brother Tommy, played by Ben Locke, allowing him to be a real comic partner, not just the butt of the jokes.
Clwyd’s stage overflows with energy, and particularly impressive are a tremendously effective beanstalk and a proper, dancing pantomime cow who really has the mooves.
Along with the rock comes a lot of soul, making this a genuinely feel-good show.