Jack and the Beanstalk, Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond

Jack and the Beanstalk - review The Northern Echo
Jack and the Beanstalk, George Theatre Royal: top level, the Circus Legume’s Bandsmen (from left) Jack ‘Sancho’ Burton, Daniel Bowater and Kerrin Tatman. Bottom level (from left) – Jake England-Johns (Harry Coco and the Giant); Gary Bridgens (Ida

9th December 2015

Jack and the Beanstalk, Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond

“TRADITIONAL panto meets the circus in a fusion of talent. It shouldn’t work, but it does – incredibly well too. Kelly Jago’s design is a delicious red and white striped big top that goes right to the top of the theatre with a flying platform for the Pierrot clown band of musicians; loved their lively adaptation of All About That Base.

Jack’s dysfunctional family is a troupe of timeless circus performers, The Circus Legume, who fall upon hard times and exchange their loveable camel for magic beans. The story runs along perfectly with Gary Bridgens returning as Ida Bean, the brilliantly risqué dame cast as a fortune teller down on her luck – a not so small medium at large.

Clowning around in true Grimaldi style is the doom-laden giant, Mighty Mung, a huge puppet clown, beautifully animated by Jake England-John. He also produces a sizzling performance as the ringmaster as well as a ridiculously silly little Mungo, who wears shoes on his knees.

When she’s not dangling upside down playing the saxophone, Natalie Verhaegen makes the boos count as bad girl Hettie Heinz, a sort of Lady Gaga meets Jessica Ennis character.

There’s so much fabulous stuff going on in Tony Lidington’s insane creation with aerial acrobats and tumbling, juggling and trapezes, there’s even real tweeting from the brilliant local youth theatre from cloud land and a human canon ball.

I also spotted Lighting Designer and Production Manger, Tony Wilcock, crawling on his belly amongst the lighting rigs to aid the beanstalk antics. Now that’s commitment. This is buffoonery at its very best, amazing and unmissable.”

Helen Brown

Picture: Dave Cooil

Jack and the Beanstalk, Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond 2015
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