Jack and the Beanstalk review – the climate crisis reaches panto season

Perth theatre
The beanstalk in Barrie Hunter’s jolly, tightly choreographed and on-message show is actually a fossil fuel mountain, and the giant is a massive polluter

The temperature is rising in Middle Perth. Nobody says it in so many words but the opening salvo of songs tells you all you need to know: Walking on Sunshine; Hot in Herre; Hot Stuff; (Feeling) Hot Hot Hot. Becky Minto’s designs point in the same direction: everything is bathed in an unseasonal orange, offset by the lime-green tartan trews.

You wouldn’t know if from the tightly choreographed routines and the all-round air of jollity, but this is a Jack and the Beanstalk for the age of global heating. If panto plot points are your thing, look away now, but it turns out Kirsty Findlay’s intrepid young Jack is not only making an attempt on Beinn Mucklemichty, the least climbable peak in the land, but on a mountain of fossil fuel.

Helen Logan, going by the unequivocal name of Baddie, is all set to burn the lot having already devastated the rural economy, not to mention the habitat of the cute mountain hares. Who needs an actual giant when you find this monster at the top of the beanstalk? Luckily her New Age past is about to catch up with her.

Kimberley Mandindo, Maggie Moo the Highland Coo and Somers.
Kimberley Mandindo, Maggie Moo the Highland Coo and Somers. Photograph: Mihaela Bodlovic

If that sounds too on-message for its own good, Barrie Hunter’s big-hearted show never makes it seem so. He outsources Jack’s traditional stupidity to Ewan Somers as brother Jock (there is a lot of alliteration) and takes on the role of dame himself, his Lettie Lou more cuddly than caustic.

If it could do with a few more gags in the first half, it regains momentum in the second, buoyed along by Alan Penman’s music direction and Chris Stuart Wilson’s choreography, creating a bright and likeable show that ends – how else? – with snow.

Until 31 December


Mark Fisher

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Jack and the Beanstalk review – panto season’s not yet behind you!
Stephen Joseph theatre’s filmed seasonal offering is a proper winter warmer with some off-the-wall touches

Chris Wiegand

18, Jan, 2022 @11:36 AM

Article image
The Scouse Jack and the Beanstalk review – perfect panto for tough times
Cow jokes are heavily milked in this family-friendly show, alongside nods to the city’s star turn as next year’s Eurovision host

Mark Fisher

17, Nov, 2022 @10:09 AM

Article image
The Rock’n’Roll Panto Red Riding Hood review – music is the star in an Everyman institution
The eponymous fairytale does not lend itself easily to panto – requiring some princely interference – but the cast is exuberant

Mark Fisher

01, Dec, 2022 @11:20 AM

Article image
Panto-goers get refund for 'spectacularly bad' Jack and the Beanstalk
Chippenham community centre issues apology saying show was not as promised

Sarah Marsh

10, Jan, 2019 @6:33 PM

Article image
Jack and the Beanstalk review – online panto is fee-fi-fo-fun
An irrepressible Iain Lauchlan leads a trip to Prickly Bottom, where songs, toilet humour and Joe Wicks gags abound

Chris Wiegand

04, Dec, 2020 @5:15 PM

Article image
Jack and the Beanstalk review – sumptuously OTT panto has a big heart
A streetwise Jack sells his cow for a tin of baked beans in this sugar rush of a show, which is underpinned with an anti-greed moral about the collective good

Brian Logan

28, Nov, 2022 @8:00 PM

Article image
Jack and the Beanstalk review – Clive Rowe is a giant among panto dames
Tweenies writer Will Brenton packs this festive frenzy with all the kids’ favourite flourishes, but there isn’t much for the adults beyond Rowe’s delightful Dame Trot

Miriam Gillinson

03, Dec, 2021 @11:35 AM

Article image
Hex review – musical Sleeping Beauty casts a darkly dazzling spell
No theatrical effect is spared in this emotional show, which returns to Charles Perrault’s grisly and grief-ridden fairytale for inspiration

Arifa Akbar

07, Dec, 2022 @11:40 AM

Article image
Jack and the Beanstalk – review

Lyn Gardner: It's full of politics, in-jokes and localism, but this year's Lyric panto is underpowered and lacks a narrative focus – three beans

Lyn Gardner

04, Dec, 2013 @12:44 PM

Article image
Jack and the Beanstalk – review
The Berwick Kaler show scales new heights of panto plotlessness with chickens, nuns and a horde of Martians, writes Alfred Hickling

Alfred Hickling

13, Dec, 2010 @9:30 PM