04 December 2013 to 05 January 2014
An action packed adventure of GIANT proportions will see our handsome hero Jack Trott venture from the village of Sunnyvale to Blunderbore’s castle in Cloudland via a beanstalk! Simple Simon is certain to serve up massive helpings of mischief and merriment and Dame Trott will tickle and tease with her comedy couture costumes.
Danger is never far away in Sunnyvale and Fleshcreep, Giant Blunderbore’s evil side-kick, delivers dastardly dealings of menace and mayhem. Never letting the grass grow under her hooves, Daisy the Cow gives a gold top performance whilst Princess Amelia leaves a twinkle in Jack’s eye and along with the magical Fairy Organic, spurs Jack on in his battle with Blunderbore.
Cheryl Fergison: Spirit of the Beans
Marcus Collins: Jack Trott
Mike 'squeaky' McClean: Simple Simon
Don Maclean: Dame Trott
Andrew Haynes: King Crumble
George Telfer: Fleshcreep
Natalie Law: Princess Ameila
Daisy the Cow as herself
Hannah Dicker, Daniel Malinder, Alex MacMillan, Jack Sainthouse, Sophie Wright, Jenna Weller
Directors: Keith & Ben Simmons
Musical Director: Ben Wiles
Choreographer: Robert Wheeler
LX Designer: Matt Veitch
Panto has really found its feet at the Assembly Rooms. This is the best of its seasonal offerings so far, a warm, colourful, spectacular show that owes much to the writers. They know exactly how to introduce a speciality act or scene without losing the story and everyone has good lines to speak, so it’s always clear, strong and very funny… Read more...
THERE’S nothing like a good panto to put a smile on your face at Christmas and Derby Assembly Rooms hasn’t let us down with this season’s festive frolics… Read more...
12 December 2013
Panto has really found its feet at the Assembly Rooms. This is the best of its seasonal offerings so far, a warm, colourful, spectacular show that owes much to the writers. They know exactly how to introduce a speciality act or scene without losing the story and everyone has good lines to speak, so it’s always clear, strong and very funny.
The show has one of the best Dames in the business in Don Maclean, whose talents extend to singing an Indian takeaway menu in the style of Pavarotti. He is coupled with the engaging Mike McClean, a returning Derby favourite and a highly versatile comic performer. His silent film slapstick sequence with Andrew Haynes’ King Crumble is inspired.
Video design is beautifully incorporated in the set and gives a cinematic feel to the opening, which sees Cheryl Fergison’s powerfully voiced Spirit of the Beans swinging high above the stage on Cloud Nine. George Telfer enjoys himself as a smiling Fleshcreep, Marcus Collins uses his fine singing voice to good effect as Jack, and Natalie Law is a spirited heroine.
08 December 2013
THERE’S nothing like a good panto to put a smile on your face at Christmas and Derby Assembly Rooms hasn’t let us down with this season’s festive frolics.
Jack and the Beanstalk sticks to the tried and tested formula that has made the venue’s annual panto a Christmas must-see and it works - all the way to the sprinkling of snow that greets theatre-goers on their way home.
The co writers/directors, father and son team Keith and Ben Simmons, have been the architects of the Derby Live/Paul Holman panto for a good few years now and have the mix just about right – plenty of slapstick fun, some (very) old jokes and not too much in the way of plot to slow it all down.
Simmons and Simmons also took to the stage to do the comedy leg work for several pantos but for the last three have left that to Mike McClean, a more than safe pair of hands. McClean’s cheeky northern humour has been the highlight of the recent pantos and his post-show routine with three children from the audience is worth the admission fee on its own. His ability to mine comedy gold from the yongsters means it’s never worth going home early.
He’s joined this year by Don Maclean as a feisty Dame Trott and former EastEnder Cheryl Fergison as the Spirit of the Beans.
Jack is played by Marcus Collins – a charmer with a good voice who is better than some might expect from someone with an X Factor CV.
The musical numbers are less of an intrusion and more pleasing this year - ranging from Dame Trott’s tongue-twisting curry house version of Nessun Dorma via Jack’s rendition of Skyfall to a reinvention of Blurred Lines dedicated to Daisy The Cow.
Some of the jokes fall a bit flat and some of the routines peter out but there are far more hits than misses.
If the production flags, it’s generally because Jack and the Beanstalk isn’t the best panto in the repertoire and certainly less appealing than Cinderella or Peter Pan.
But there are plenty of glitzy costumes and a nice use of video projection to help cover over any plot cracks. It’s seldom long before you are laughing again.