Review by Sue Vickers

PANTO’S are predictable and that’s what people love about them and Jack and The Beanstalk, this year’s Malvern Theatres offering was no exception.

This is a loose re-telling of the traditional fairytale Jack and the Beanstalk complete with song-and-dance routines, slapstick and over-the-top costumes and lots of old jokes to make the audience groan. It’s great fun for children and for those grown-ups for whom Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a chance to boo at the bad guys and shout out “he’s behind you” until they’re hoarse.

Jack and the Beanstalk had former Dr Who Colin Baker as the baddie Fleshcreep and this gave the script wriiters plenty of opportunity for Dr Who jokes alongside the usual pantomime favourites and custard pies. This former Doctor even got an opportunity to use a sonic screwdriver and found himself facing one of his oldest enemies, a dalek, albeit a very small and not very scary one.

There is plenty of glitz and glamour, a princess, a giant and a couple of faces familiar to children from children’s television with CBBC’s Mike Fischetti from Smart as Simple Simon and Five’s Milkshake presenter Amy Thompson as the hero Jack. There’s also an imcompetent fairy, played by Sarah Thomas from Last of the Summer Wine and a dame (Douglas Mounce) who was everything a pantomime dame should be. A pantomime cow and a comedy sketch involving a ghost (strangely familiar for some reason) are all part of the fun.