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Thursday, 31 December 2020

REVIEW: Jack and the Beanstalk at the Belgrade, Coventry (Online)

The challenge this year is how to pick which of the eighty online Pantomimes to purchase and watch as there are a wide range of titles and approaches to the new medium. One way is to go to the biggest producers of a normal year and select their offering and you can't go far wrong with Imagine Theatre who usually produce 14 shows each season. Their version of Jack and the Beanstalk sticks to the traditional storyline but innovates and plays with the medium to brilliant effect. 

It starts in an empty venue where two veterans of Imagine shows sit on the edge of a bare stage staring into the deserted auditorium and sadly discussing the absence of live shows. Craig Hollingsworth suggests doing an online stream to a bemused Iain Lauchlan. But as a writer, director and Performer, Lauchlan rises to the challenges to deliver a very clever up to date script and plays multiple roles. He plays the Fairy Fluff, Giant Blunderbus and Dame Trot, all in very good costumes and changing with some whizzy editing! Hollingsworth also has multi roles as King Cuthbert, Fleshcreep, and Simon Trott which means effectively one of the two is on stage most of the time to drive the storytelling along at a good pace. 
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