Jack and the Beanstalk @ Catford Broadway Theatre Review

A pantomime favourite, the classic fairytale with a Robin Hood-style core continues to intrigue imaginations. The tale of a working class family struggling to make ends meet a particularly fitting tale to explore in light of the current ‘Cost of Living Crisis’ post lockdowns. Updating the classic tale to echo the experiences of the South London located Catford, located in the London Borough of Lewisham, Joy Productions and Catford Broadway Theatre delight with an infectious, upbeat and entertaining retelling of the tale.

Situated in Lewishfarm (a clever play on Lewisham), Jack (Durone Stokes), his trusty all SJ (Evelyn Hoskins), his mother Dame Dolores (Derek Elroy) and the family pet and means of produce Caroline the Cow (aptly named Caroline the Cow) navigate ever increasing rent rises and food prices enforced by the show’s villain Boris the Cockroach (Ben Fox). What follows is a thoughtful, steady two hours of the collective sadly having to sell Daisy, receiving ‘magical’ beans in exchange for her, these then – when thrown out of the window growing into a magnificent magical beanstalk, which leads to a colossal, mysterious kingdom – which so happens to be home to a mighty, heartless ogre who happens to be in possession of an opulent golden hen who lays eggs that fetch for a hefty sum. If you’re aware of the narrative, you’re aware of what happens next…

Susie McKenna writes a warm and hearty script, the cast an ensemble effort given more of a chance to shine – the characters are the priority, rather than the highly entertaining narrative taking the limelight which is great to see. McKenna directs a loud, bubbly, back endeavour always wary of the pacing considering that this is a show for the entire family. Stoke’s jack is loveable, animated and optimistic – we trust in him that any obstacles will be overcome. Hoskins’ SJ mimics Jack’s optimism, add to that a smily, charismatic presence. Elroy’s Dame Dolores has you belly-laughing from the get go – a gutsy, flirtatious yet measured energy who’s that much needed comic relief. Queen Bee (Siobhan Athwal) – the show’s narrator taps into her inner diva – think Queen Bey, to give the show its sassy and assertive foundations. Scarecrow (Wayne Rollins) offers a cool, smooth talking vibe to the afternoon that too makes for comic viewing, with Fox’s Boris a fun caricature of the real deal – an air of the chaotic and clumsy mastered well. A playful and exuberant day out at the theatre, if you’re looking for a panto to watch this festive season, Jack and the Beanstalk embodies community spirit and calls for you to join the collective!

Written by Lucy Basaba.

Jack and the Beanstalk is currently showing until Sunday 31st December 2023 at the Catford Broadway Theatre. To find out more about the production, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop