With Christmas only a couple of days away, there’s no better way to get into the festive spirit than being swept up in the classic panto tale of Jack And The Beanstalk at The Radlett Centre, in Aldenham Avenue.
Based on the fairy tale originally told by the Brothers Grimm, the show features a huge beanstalk, a panto cow and a paper mache giant that bellows: “Fe Fi Fo Fum”, as well as an array of energetic dance numbers.
The panto cow stole the show a couple of times. The cow costume was made up of thin material, which made the animal look quite gaunt. In fact, it looked so undernourished and weak that it was not surprising that it was not providing enough milk for the family and they were forced to sell it to make some money.
Jack (Lawrence Libor) was not the usual type of charming hero you’d expect in a fairy tale. Instead, he seemed more of a bumbling buffoon sort of character, who had no more intelligence than his brother, Simple Simon (Sean Carey).
The Dame, who was played by Marc Kelly, came across as quite deadpan and bitter, rather than being full of life and charm as you’d expect from such a bawdy character.
The Fairy Godmother (Genevieve Taylor) burst onto the stage in a flash of blinding light, wearing a garish pea green costume and shrieked through her lines.
James Wolstenholme did not seem to take his role too seriously as Fleshcreep, the Giant’s Henchman, as he laughed along with a lot of his jokes and it was hard to tell whether this was part of the act or not. He was one of the standouts of the show though, as he encouraged the audience to boo him.
There were quite a lot of diversions throughout the show, in order to spin the plot out for two hours. This included a song that began with: “If I wasn’t on stage, I would instead be…”, which featured the performers dressing up as Donald Trump and the rotund tenor from The Go Compare adverts.
There was also a scene that was set in a school, which involved a group of children sitting in a classroom and being taught a maths lesson by the Dame, who also turned out to be a teacher.
These scenes went on quite a while and didn’t really add anything to the plot.
Although there was a lot of filler, the props and set were still impressive and the show was filled with plenty of Christmas cheer.
The Radlett Centre, Aldenham Avenue, Radlett, WD7 8HL, until Tuesday, January 3, 10am, 1pm, 4.30pm, 5.30pm, Details: 01923 859291, radlettcentre.co.uk