The Christmas panto maestro is back with another slapstick comedy that is sure to brussel your sprouts and leave you feeling thoroughly festive this season. Berwick Kaler and his trusty cast never fail to entertain both babies and bairns with his absurd fashion sense and outright lunacy, but that is surely what has made him a Yorkshire icon for so many over the years.
A welcome return for the panto also reintroduces everyone’s favourite jester, Martin Barrass, back to the stage after his serious motor cycle accident last year. Alongside Berwick once more these two chaotic clowns cause chaos about the York Theatre Royal stage, highlighting their on stage brotherly love which is great to see. As is the greater involvement of David Leonard in this particular panto, giving the dastardly villain a better chance to taunt and flare up the audience into fits of hissing and constant booing. Leonard never ceases to disappoint, he can act, sing and move his feet in time to the music, which I believe is supposed to be dancing, but who knows?!
The empire also strikes back massively in this performance, with Star Wars getting a major plot line throughout the camp glittery affair happening on stage. A scrawny Darth Vader in a black cat suit, Stormtroopers pumping and grinding around the set and child actors dressed as Ewoks. Gosh, it is out of this world and definitely an element that must have been pulled from a galaxy far far away. Of course anything goes, especially when in a matter of minutes we then end up with all the main protagonists dressed up as the Adams Family, supported by backing dancers dressed up as Cher. I mean bonkers would be an understatement, but so would dull and forgetful, which the performance definitely isn’t.
It is hard to critique Kaler’s pantos as he improvises so much it is challenging to know what has actually been rehearsed at all, but all I would say is the appeal these performances have for all ages in something that brings families and friends together is remarkable. Escaping the world of hard Brexits, large Trump’s and whether or not it’s a Marks and Spencer’s Dine in for Two weekend or not, pantos really do put the mind at ease.
Upbeat music, camp choreography and giggles galore. Don’t miss a warm night in with dame Kaler and her world of madness this winter, it promises to be well worth the festive fuss! 3.5/5
Review written by Luke Redhead.
Jack and the Beanstalk is currently showing until Saturday 3rd February 2018 at the York Theatre Royal. To find out more about the production, visit here…