This isn’t a sponsored post.
BrumHour was invited to review Jack and the Beanstalk Online by Belgrade Theatre.
by Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
Jack and the Beanstalk Online with Belgrade Theatre
Written and produced by Iain Lauchlan, Directed by Paul Gibson
Faced with a panto season like no other, Coventry Panto’s Iain Lauchlan and Craig Hollingsworth find themselves sat on the stage of an empty theatre. Their regular panto production at Belgrade Theatre is cancelled. Wondering what on earth they are going to do, the pair sit thinking until Craig suggests they go…. digital.
Jack and the Beanstalk Online is online until 31st December 2020 and features Iain Lauchlan as Dame Trott, Fairy Fluff AND the Giant, Craig Hollingsworth as Simon Trott, The King and Fleshcreep, with Morna Macpherson as Jack, Trish Adudu as Mrs Blunderbore and Arina Ii as Princess Alyssa.
One day Jack cluelessly sells the family cow Daisy for some magic beans, the beans are dropped into the ground and magically turn into a beanstalk the next day. In the meantime, Fleshcreep has kidnapped the kingdom’s Princess and taken her to the Giant’s castle in the sky. Can Jack save the day?
The classic pantomime is given the 2020 full treatment, as the studio-filmed action features lots of fun special effects, music and many references to Covid-19 which here is called Covid-17 and 3/4.
Iain Lauchlan’s storytelling skills and television background take centre stage as the story is skilfully adapted into a one-hour filmed tale that recognises a live audience is a key ingredient when it comes to traditional panto.
I really enjoyed seeing Coventry Panto favourites create a brand new land in truly unique times and it is a brave move to take their well-known routines and topical humour onto the screen. The slapstick piemaking, jokes about neighbouring town Nuneaton, and panto singalongs are all in place. There are also references to the lack of toilet roll, damage to independent business and having to manage in challenging times.
Rather than being the daft leading man we see in some versions of Jack and the Beanstalk, Morna Macpherson plays the exposition version of Jack who tells the audience what we can’t see ourselves, Morna is a mighty fine principal girl.
Normally we just see Craig Hollingsworth as the hapless comic characters but here he shines as villain Fleshcreep rubbing his hands with glee at the camera, as well as his more familiar character of (Simple) Simon.
Iain Lauchlan is funny and cheeky as Dame Trott and he also pulls a turn as the rhyming magic fairy plus the fearful Giant who reminded me more of Hagrid from Harry Potter than an actual fearsome giant.
I’d have loved to see more of Trish Adudu as my funny Caribbean Auntie, Mrs Blunderbore and Arina Ii as Princess Alyssa with her proper Disney Princess voice, but Panto has a pace to keep up and nods are made to this new format.
A proper Christmas treat for those who can’t get to live theatre, filled with humour for all ages, Jack and the Beanstalk is online until 31st December. Book a ticket for this digital delight on your device here: belgrade.co.uk/events/jack-and-the-beanstalk-online