Imagine this: you’re sitting in our living room on Christmas day, surrounded by hyperactive children, wrapping paper and mince pie crumbs. The TV is off for 5 minutes and we’re playing a word association game. I shout out ‘pantomime!’; what are you going to shout back? Fairytale, horse, dame, fairy, baddie? All just a few of the things that audiences have come to expect from pantomimes since they came galloping onto the theatre scene hundreds of years ago.
While some productions veer away from the traditional pantomime formula, purists will be delighted to know that York Grand Opera House’s Jack and the Beanstalk has everything you want from a good old-fashioned Christmas show. The classic tale is brought to life by an energetic cast featuring stars of stage and screen including Emmerdale’s Stuart Wade and X Factor’s Jade Ellis. A special mention goes to Chris Casey too, who holds it all together as Simple Simon.
With the help of some high-octane musical numbers, colourful costumes and a snappy script, this story of giants, cows, witches, fairies and magic beans is full-on old-school family entertainment. Highlights for our 6 year old were pretty predictable: he loved the pantomime cow, the songs and all of the (fairly terrible) jokes. And we loved watching him – and the rest of the little vikings in the audience – really enjoying themselves.
Jack and the Beanstalk runs at the Grand Opera House, York, until Sunday 3rd January 2016. For more details and to book, visit the website.