With a strong cast and outstanding performances it’s no wonder this year’s Millennium Forum pantomime is already getting rave reviews.
Showing the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk, there’s a host of fun and laughter for all the family as the show bounds along with endless energy and a host of comic moments.
Starting with an introduction from the Fairy Rose Petal (played by Limavady girl Orla Mullan) the show is awash with magic - from the beans which grow into the infamous stalk, to a walking and talking ‘giant’ and not forgetting the incredible dancing cow.
The audience, which is 75% children, took a while to warm up but once they got started there were ‘boos’ aplenty for the extremely believable ‘baddie’ Flesh Creep (played by Keith Lynch) and cheeky bouts of laughter along with ‘Silly Billy’, who it has to be said was my favourite character.
He was a perfect injection of fun amid the soulful singing and dance performances, of which there were many. They too were performed with precision and a ballet duet during the song ‘Skyfall’ was beautiful - and a true indication of the wealth of talent that exists in the city.
The singing was also top class with a number of solo performances throughout. Jill (played by Kathryn Rutherford) gave a fabulous rendition of what has to be the song of this Christmas - if you’re under eight anyway - singing ‘Let It Go’ from the film Frozen.
Amid all of the singing and dancing, the character of Dame Trot (played by William Caulfield) was also shining brightly. Donning a wonderful array of bright and eccentric outfits this was the character guaranteed to put smiles on the faces of those watching as his actions and acting was comedic brilliance.
The jokes were for the smaller members of the audience but there was always another layer of laughter that came from the mums and dads.
One sketch involving ‘Dame Trot’, ‘Silly Billy’ and the ‘King’ involving the collecting of debt from ‘Who’ at Number One, ‘What’ at Number two and ‘I Don’t Know’ at Number Three had me doubled over with laughter and tears running down my cheeks - a definite highlight and a touch of genius from writer David Mclaughlin.
At the end of it all though it was the reaction of my four-year-old which summed the pantomime up to a tee - ‘It was SO much fun mummy, can we go again?’
And you know what, I think we just might.
Jack and the Beanstalk continues at the Millennium Forum at various dates and times until Sunday 4th January. Tickets are priced from £9.50 and are available from the box office (028) 71264455 or online.