Review of Jack and The Beanstalk - Playhouse, Whitley Bay
By Andrew Harrison - Arts critic
The Pantomime at Whitley Bay has quickly become a tradition for my family, Steve Walls then fish and chips on the sea front is now the start of Christmas for me. This year certainly didn’t disappoint. Returning to The Playhouse for panto is like meeting an old friend after many years. You instantly feel at ease and enjoy every second.
The opening is fast and furious which continues throughout. This year Steve Walls was Simple Simon and he delivers his one-liners to perfection. Even if you have heard some before, in panto-land it really doesn’t matter. Local girl – Molly Scott as Jill was perfect throughout and her partner – Jack, Harry Downes, complemented her perfectly. Guy Mott as Fleshcreep was superbly evil. David Burton as King Crumble was colourful and made a delightful Dame, as he has done over the last few years. For me there were two added highlights this year and that was, firstly with Ashleigh Butler, Fairy Liquid and Sully. I have seen Ashleigh previously with Pudsey and they were loved by the audience, with Sully the audience just lapped up the performances from them both. They were definitely the highlight for many of the audience. The other was Damian Patton as Oddball. He created a brilliant partnership with Steve Walls, meaning their scenes were some of the best of the show. He has some pedigree as he is part of the Patton Family, related to the amazing Chuckle Brothers.
The bench has had a remake and has a surprising attribute, making the annual favourite even better. My favourite panto joke of the year, which I can’t repeat here, possibly didn’t go over all the children’s head, but that is panto!
The dancing throughout has so much energy and they are all brilliant but I have to say what a joy it is to see Mary J Proud in the show again – what a talent she is!
With amazing choreography from Alison Hefferon, direction from Charlotte Sheridan and Simon Barnard as musical director, the team behind this show are just as good as those on stage.
Gary Telfer has yet again produced a cracking show for The Playhouse in Whitley Bay and in Snow White next year again with Steve Walls and Daniel Mawston the family tradition is guaranteed to continue.