Jack and the Beanstalk

Spot On Productions really are “Spot On” with Jack and the Beanstalk at The Point in Eastleigh. It is a glorious pantomime. Cracking venue. Great script. I had so much fun. Any reservations about going to a pantomime in January were quickly dispelled. Feel good stuff. Brilliantly executed, wonderfully performed with a witty script (Pob Wyeth) and regional theatre production values. I think I am in love with Daisy the pantomime cow (Emma Manning/Jemma Connor).

Alick Leech (Director) and the production team have pulled off a cracker in five weeks. Smart tight and executed choreography (Abbie Leach), glitzy costumes (Michelle Palmer), zippy lighting and effects (Alex Edwards) all give the cast the tools to entertain and, slap my thighs, do they make the most of it.

Jack (Rhianna Killick) kicks off the show with ‘Good Morning Wigglemore’ (a steal from Hairspray) and throughout she holds the frankly daft, sometimes saucy, never inappropriate, ultimately daft plot together. Silly Sod (Adam Feltham) and Silly Billy (Nico Bray) engage the audience splendidly slap sticking their way through the show with energy and wit.

It is so nice to see a Dame (Adam Rush) that is funny. So often wigs and the costumes are the front and there is nothing underneath. Not here. Adam’s ability to run with the script and improvise is joyous. Of course, he has the best song and routine – the ‘eBay Song’. It is worth the price of entry alone.

In as much as there are subplots in a pantomime, there is a sweet aside with the Queen (Lizzie Bewley) and the King (Josh McDonald) that talks to rekindled love. Lizzie has a pitch perfect voice and there is great charm when it all comes back to them.

The good fairy (Holly Ind) and Madame Grimshaw (Emily McSpirit) battle it out with great gusto. Emily’s interaction with the Giant (Conner Handstock) is hilarious and I want one of those pies (you’ll see what I mean). The Princess (Hattie Funnell – no relation) is sweet and demure, though quite what an iMix Tape is I have no idea. Kate (Emma Harris) has great fun as part of ‘It Sucks To Be Me’. Quite funny, really, given the script doesn’t give her that much to do. I would have liked to see more from her.

All the ensemble were tight in step and voice. I have a habit of watching feet through ensemble numbers and they nailed it. Genuine commitment and punch throughout the show ensured that quality was maintained.

I had this idea to lament the days when sweets were thrown to the children in the audience. Health and safety gone mad. I need not have worried. Of course, the bellwether of a pantomime is whether the children were whisked away to another land and had fun. Looking at their faces it was clear they were having a marvelous time. The big kid – Mark from Lymington – had fun too (you had to be there).

This is a great night out. Thank you to Spot On Productions, all the staff at The Point and the cast for lifting spirits and sending a little magic my way. Jack and the Beanstalk runs until Saturday 15 January with a matinee on the Saturday afternoon. Go and see it.