TEN years ago Andrew Pollard was drafted in to write Greenwich Theatre’s panto. It was a partnership that has grown more successful every year since with the result that the Crooms Hill theatre’s Christmas show is widely and rightly regarded as one of the best in the business.
This year Andrew is back once more and has chosen to revisit Jack And The Beanstalk – a show he wrote for the theatre seven years ago – and, not to beat about the bush, it’s brilliant.
Using a small cast led by Andrew as Dame Trott, puppets, magic, music and song, not to mention bringing a certain giant back to life, he has created one of the funniest shows.
Jack and his mum Dame Trott are on their uppers. The giant and his henchman Nightshade are demanding ever higher taxes which the villagers can no longer afford. It’s up to Fairy Fullobeans, Jack, Jill, Daisy the cow and the magic beans to save the day.
As ever, the attention to detail is spot on. Andrew’s script is pacy and razor sharp with gags galore and the comic timing between the cast is superb – in particular the afternoon tea sequence involving an ever deflating sofa and the broken mirror scene were so brilliantly executed the audience was crying with laughter.
The show is also full of geographical and topical jokes, some gloriously funny and very cleverly reworked songs – Bohemian Rhapsody was genius - spontaneous and hilarious ad libs, and some fantastic costumes – not least for Dame Trott whose Dairy Air and the final creation brought the house down.
The cast was superb particularly Andrew's Dame Trott who was hilarious. Martin Johnston as Mayor Boris is a joy and with a belter of a voice and although Greenwich regular Paul Critoph is starring in the West End, he does make an appearance.
There were also fine performances from the rest of the cast including Melissa Keyes as Fairy Fullobeans, Sophie Ayers as Jill, Alim Jayda as a fabulous Nightshade and Tom Oakley as Jack.
In short Andrew has done it again – it’s a belter from start to finish and will have you laughing all the way through Christmas and into next year.
Jack And The Beanstalk is on at Greenwich Theatre, Crooms Hill until Sunday, January 11. Tickets cost £27 for adults and £13.50 for children. Visit www.greenwichtheatre.org.uk or call the box office on 020 8858 7755.