Review: Jack and the Beanstalk - York GOH

Caroline Barnes and Russ Spencer as Princess Jill and Jack Trott in York Grand Opera House panto Jack and the Beanstalk. Picture: David Harrison
Caroline Barnes and Russ Spencer as Princess Jill and Jack Trott in York Grand Opera House panto Jack and the Beanstalk. Picture: David Harrison
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York’s Grand Opera House relies on audiences who like a traditional theatrical fare at Christmas.

And New Pantomime Productions’ 17th visit to the city, this time with Jack and the Beanstalk, has all the old favourites - plot, good guys, a witch baddie, songs, dance routines and audience participation.

The cast of Jack and the Beanstalk at York Grand Opera House. Picture: David Harrison

The cast of Jack and the Beanstalk at York Grand Opera House. Picture: David Harrison

It may be nothing we haven’t seen before - especially the ghost routine, pantomime cow, costumes and Twelve Days of Christmas - but it is well received, especially by the young.

The creation of the Giant, Natham Haymer-Bates, was an innovative and refreshing costume addition to the show.

But the old routines are the favourites and the highlight was the chaotic yet hilariously funny Twelve Days of Christmas with five flying toilet rolls and cast falling over, which had the audience in hysterics.

Unfortunately there wasn’t enough of this kind of humour which the actors seemed to relish playing out.

Instead there were just a few tired old gags and song and dance routines were shovelled in, often with no link to the plot.

The songs seemed to be there to give a platform for its stars, such as 2013 X Factor finalist Jade Ellis to justify being an attraction.

But Scooch Eurovision pop act members Leeds-born Caroline Barnes (Princess Jill) and Russ Spencer (Jack Trott) sang an uplifting and outstanding rendition of Yazoo’s Only You that was a welcome scene in the show.

Stuart Wade, as Tilly Trott, was the glue to keep everyone together. Given his TV (Emmerdale) and stage experience he could have done more with ad-libs and the plot if given the chance.

Another stand-out performance came from newcomer to the York Grand Opera House Chris Casey as Simple Simon.

His extensive stage, film and panto experience, shone out and made him a firm favourite with the audience.

Thirsk’s Ionica Adriana put her all into being Witch Blackweed and it felt better when she turned from bad to good character in the end as she had given an outstanding performance.

More could have been done with the costumes, sets and script but Jack and the Beanstalk is comfortingly familiar for traditional audiences.

Jack and the Beanstalk runs at the Grand Opera House York until Sunday January 3.

For tickets phone 0844 871 3024 or online at www.atgtickets.com/york

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