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Theatre review: Jack and the Beanstalk at Croydon’s Fairfield Halls

14:56 04 January 2013

Herbie Adams as Billy and Quinn Patrick as Dame Trott in Jack and the Beanstalk at Croydon

Herbie Adams as Billy and Quinn Patrick as Dame Trott in Jack and the Beanstalk at Croydon's Fairfield Halls. Picture: Paul Clapp

Archant

There ain’t nothing like a panto dame—and it’s not too late to grab a bundle of Fe Fi Fo Fun at Croydon’s Fairfield Halls with Jack and the Beanstalk.

This production with the tallest man in Europe, a good vegetable fairy from Albert Square and a baddie clad in Goth’s leathers has all the vital ingredients—rumbustious singing and dancing, a pretty princess and a bevy of ghosts that get scared off by the Panto Dame. The Giant is a genuine giant - former pro basketball player Neil Fingleton at just over 7ft 7ins tall.

Other talent includes TV favourite and CBeebies presenter Sid Sloane as our hero Jack, pint-sized Gemma Sutton is the Beautiful Princess with a giant of a singing voice, Quinn Patrick as the outrageous Dame Trott and Gareth Williams from 1980s Flying Pickets acappella group makes a feisty king. Laila Morse, who plays Mo Harris in EastEnders, is in charge of the magic.

And there are more jokes about cheeses than you can shake a cheese straw at.

Jack, desperate for cash to help his mum pay the king rent to pay the Giant tribute, is duped into parting with the family’s beloved dairy cow Daisy for a bag of gold that turns out to be beans.

But as every kid will tell you—they’re magic beans.

From the beans sprout a humungous beanstalk that Jack can climb to reach the wicked Giant’s castle in the clouds to rescue his princess Tamara, she of a dozen or more groaners about her name confused with ‘tomorrow’.

Yes, that’s the nature of this Fairfield fairytale that lurches from one pun to the next.

Anyway, back to the plot, and our hero Jack gets to grips with climbing the beanstalk and reaches the Giant’s lair where Tamara is held captive awaiting her fate of marrying the monster or ending up as his supper.

A natty twist to the tale is the twin boys, Jack and Billy Trott, and their pantomum dame. Jay Worthy as the Giant’s henchman Fleshcreep and the band of aviators who dance a ghoulish jig in the sky are among the highlights.

This is a treat for children nought to 90, including a 10-week-old baby boy in the audience of this particular performance and a few seniors citizens bawling out ‘behind you’!

Jack and the Beanstalk at Croydon’s Fairfield Halls until January 6.

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