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Jack and the Beanstalk
Birmingham Hippodrome
Reviewed by Clive Fuller

Television viewers may have crowned Joe Pasquale 'King of the Jungle' but on this occasion he took his crown as 'King of the Hippodrome'.

It must be 20 years since I last saw a pantomime at the Hippodrome and I was wondering what might be in store; would it be the old-fashioned happy family show or would it all be very different?

Well I need not have worried, as a packed house of all ages was treated to a traditional panto of spectacle, humour, slapstick, romance and dance in an evening that was fun from start to finish.

Director Paul Elliott has brought together a stellar cast headed by the immensely popular Joe Pasquale, who is perfect as Jack Trot. He's simple but lovable and has a great way with kids.

His mother, played by that experienced and accomplished Dame, comedian Don MacLean, has some lovely frocks and keeps everyone laughing.

Letitia Dean, best known for her long running role as Sharon in 'EastEnders', is a most glamorous princess and boasts a considerable stage presence and a strong singing voice too.

Charlie Cairoli plays her father and provides the traditional slapstick for which his family have been famous for decades. The dastardly Fleshcreep, who gets lots of hisses and boos, is played with great gusto by Jason Pethers. Last but not least, Veronica Hart is a pretty and tuneful Fairy.

But the star of the show for the kids has to be Daisy the Cow. Although you will never see them, Ashley Andrews and Jonathan Reynolds make her the most athletic cow I've ever seen.

And what of the giant? Well I have never seen anything so big and frightening in my life. The little girl sitting in front of me was certainly petrified. I could have sworn he was real!

As with all pantomimes, this was a real team effort with sparkling choreography and an enthusiastic cast. The set is colourful and the costumes brilliant.

It's a great introduction to the theatre for the kids - and if the happy faces leaving the theatre were anything to go by, then I would have to say this is a big hit. Brilliant!

Copyright Clive Fuller 2005. For syndication rights, please email.



Clive Fuller saw Jack and the Beanstalk at Birmingham's Hippodrome on Tuesday 4 January 2005.

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