Panto fans are in for a treat this festive period with Watersmeet Rickmansworth’s Jack And The Beanstalk, which features a panto cow, a life size giant and plenty of nineties pop nostalgia.
Touring pantomime company Paul Holman Associates are back at Watersmeet Theatre, in the High Street, Rickmansworth, to present the classic fairy tale originally told by the Brothers Grimm, with former Steps member Lee-Latchford-Evans as the star of the show.
His performance as leading character and all-round nice guy Jack Trott was no tragedy, as he climbed the huge beanstalk to save the girl he loved, Princess Amelia (Natalie Law), after she was kidnapped by the evil giant and taken to his lair in the clouds.
Voice over artist and impressionist Darren Altman, most known for his appearance on Britain’s Got Talent earlier this year, played Jack’s brother, who was affectionately called Simple Simon.
He provided the most amount of laughs, as he kept going off on tangents during each scene and doing impressions of various celebrities. It wasn’t clear who he was impersonating a couple of times, but his camp interpretation of Alan Carr and his attempt at a Geordie accent for Ant and Dec had the audience in stitches.
Another standout performance was by Dave Short, who played Jack and Simon’s mother, Dame Mary Trott. Dave has played the role of the Dame professionally 19 times in as many different venues across the country over the last 20 years and is bringing his charm to Watersmeet for this panto season.
Mary Trott was full of the usual innuendos and puns that you expect from pantomimes, as well as seemingly endless jokes relating to the family’s pet cow that was eventually sold for magic beans. Her outfit changes also provided a great deal of entertainment, as they became more extravagant with each scene.
Brigid Lohrey was the voice of reason as she played Spirit Of The Beans, otherwise known as The Fairy Godmother. Every time she appeared on stage, a very bright purple light suddenly flashed directly into everyone’s eyes and burned deep into our retinas, but she was engaging and had a soothing singing voice.
The choreography and set were impressive and it felt like we had gone back in time to the nineties as there were many references and jokes about Steps throughout the show. At the end, the whole cast performed a medley of the band’s most memorable tunes, which the older generations appreciated more than some of the younger children, many of whom may not have even been born when 5,6,7,8 or Stomp were in the charts.
If you are in search of a festive show that doesn’t deviate from all the traditional gags and slapstick humour that you know and love, Jack And The Beanstalk is perfect for an evening of pure panto fun.
Jack And The Beanstalk, Watersmeet, High Street, Rickmansworth, WD3 1EH, until Saturday, December 31, details: 01923 711063, watersmeet.co.uk