Tuesday, 6 April 2021

REVIEW: Jack and the Beanstalk at the Theatre Royal St Helens (Online)

Jane Joseph and Chantelle Nolan, the mother and daughter team who run the Theatre Royal St Helens set the tone in their charming preshow chat reflecting on the Christmas Pantomime which was cut six shows short by the Lockdown. You sense the pride they take in their venue and the productions. We are told that the sets and costumes are all new and they look very good in the bright colours in the tradition of pantomime. Indeed, it is the combined creative talent behind this show that makes it a polished and enjoyable ninety minutes.

Directed by Chantelle Nolan herself with a script by the comic lead Simple Simon, Reece Sibbald, they tell the traditional story of Jack and the Beanstalk with a good balance of well-executed comedy routines and a great music selection. The Music Supervisor is Callum Clarke, and the choices allow some excellent dance routines by Choreographer Nazene Langfield with the leads and a chorus of four girls and two boys. As a result, the well-paced show has many highlights.

Timothy Lucas plays the lead role of Jack Trott with a strong Liverpudlian accent and tremendous stage presence. He is one to watch out for in future shows. From his opening “Footloose” duet with Jill, through “it’s not unusual” and “Together Forever” his good voice and easy movements keeps him centre stage. Olivia Sloyan as Princess Jill looks the part especially in her sumptuous regal opening costume and matches up well.

There is good chemistry between Jack and Jamie Greer as Dame Trott and Reece Sibbald as Simple Simon in some classic Pantomime routines including the schoolroom sketch with a dodgy bench, the milking routine with Doddy the cow, a fight training routine led by Jenna Sian O’Hara as Fairy Mary and of course the pantomime standard of the Ghost scene. O’Hara is very good sounding like Mrs Merton in a green leotard and delivers a lively “Don’t Stop me know” with plenty of acrobatic lifts.

The villains are Abigail Middleton as Mrs Fleshcreep, who opens Act 2 with “Queen of the Night” before we meet a rather lopsided eight-foot giant Blunderbore from which the diminutive James Lusted emerges later on in an amusing twist.

My personal favourites were the Dame, Jill, and Jack in “Flash Band Wallop” which showed off the creative energy behind this production so well and the closing song by Simon, “Theatre Royal” a list song about all those who have trod the boards at the Theatre over the years and reflects the pride the Management, creatives and cast must feel about the venue.

Jack and the Beanstalk is being streamed online until Sunday, April 11, 2021. The theatre reopens in July and is booking for its Christmas Pantomime Goldilocks and the three bears from 10th December.

Review by Nick Wayne

Rating: ★★★★

Seat: Online | Price of Ticket: £20
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