Saturday, 30 November 2013

JACK & THE BEANSTALK
Nottingham Playhouse

This is Kenneth Alan Taylor's 30th panto in the Nottingham Playhouse's 50th year and I expected a great night of slapstick entertainment, of classic jokes and topical funnies, some favourite modern songs and a few oldies thrown in for good measure. I expected all these things and I got them all. It's like being a child at Christmas whose written his list out for Santa and when he wakes up finds that all of his wish list had been granted and a few extra presents thrown in.

It's very difficult to keep pushing that entertainment bar every year, but every year Kenneth, and his very talented cast, do just that. With Kenneth using a regular core group including John Elkington, Anthony Hoggard, Rebecca Little and Daniel Hoffman Gill, as well as relative new cast family members in Tim Frater, Kelly Edwards and Hannah Whittington, the audiences feel at home and comfortable with the cast, and if there happens to be any slight errors and line fluffs, the cast know each other so well that the adlibs and recoveries are just as funny and smooth as if they had been written in by Kenneth. That is the mark of a consummate professional in whom Kenneth places his faith in unwaveringly.

I'm not going to give anything away about the panto because everyone knows the story of "Jack & The Beanstalk", but I will say that the ending is not the traditional ending and still ends happily, for everyone!

You'll be blown away by the set design by Tim Meacock, I was. There's even more glitter and sparkle than ever before and is on a par with anything that you would see in the West End, The scenery uses every inch of that stage and in the end looks like some wonderful Hollywood set from the 1940's.

Everything you've come to expect with Kenneth's pantos is there, the wonderful sound quality, the live orchestra led by John Morton, now into his 24th panto at the Playhouse, the clever lighting, classy choreography by Adele Parry. What more could you want? Dancing bunnies? Yep they're in there as well. Christmas can now start because Kenneth Alan Taylor has given it permission to.

Jack & The Beanstalk is on at the Nottingham Playhouse until Saturday 18 January 2014

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