Jack and the Beanstalk, Assembly Hall Theatre



‘So here it is, Merry Christmas…’ the season for being jolly includes many meals, drinks and of course the Great British Pantomime.

Assembly Hall Theatre Panto Launch Day was in September which I covered in  https://thesememorieswhich.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/when-to-heckle-when-to-listen/

and it was quite interesting to read back on my blog, which reflected on the different audience reactions expected at Panto and at a poetry night. Funnily enough, all these months later and press night for the Panto was on Tuesday, and the Word Up! Slam finals were on Wednesday…. and I’m pleased to say that both audiences behaved as they should!

Jack and the Beanstalk was brilliant Panto fun. The costumes, make-up and scenery set the production, with great music, super lighting and many special effects. Sarah Jane Buckley opened the show as the Vegetable Fairy, in competition against the evil Fleshcreep, played by Philip Martin Brown. Poor Jack (Luke Roberts) was desperate to slay the giant and win the hand of Princess Jill (Amelia Adams-Pearce) while putting up with his brother, Simple Simon (Noel Brodie) and Daisy the Cow. I set myself the task of trying to count Dame Trott’s (Stephen David) costume changes – I made it ten! Having originally trained in design I enjoyed ‘her’ differently themed costumes, a challenge to any costume designer.

Local references, topical jokes and chart songs, as well as all the standard slapstick, dance and love story lines – there were plenty of opportunities to BOO Fleshcreep and clap along to the music. It seems Panto isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I reckon it’s a Festive essential alongside turkey and mince pies.

The audience on press night was a lovely mix of ages with many familiar faces, and it was great to overhear one mature lady say how she was a big fan of Philip Martin Brown’s former TV show, ‘Waterloo Road’, and she had been so glad to come along and see him. At the other end of the scale were the children enjoying a late night out on a school day!

The photo, which comes courtesy of The Assembly Hall, shows the nine foot high mural, made by artist Kester Hulland-Rumley in collaboration with local families, who painted sections which were then added together to grow the beanstalk.

Brian McAteer, Theatre Director says:

“All our workshops are part of our on-going commitment to encourage young audiences to engage with the arts.  We work closely with talented arts practitioners and have a creative in-house team and we look forward to planning many more successful projects”

School Holidays are here now, and I hear some performances are sold out, so get in quick to enjoy the Family Fun!


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