Take a bow cast of Jack and the Beanstalk for the most exciting panto the Derry theatre has produced in its 17 year history, because it’s sensational.
Fantastic casting by director Jonathan Burgess, the return of William Caulfield as Dame Trot for his 12th year in Derry was always going to be popular, and Caulfield left nothing wanting in his delivery. The frocks are dangerously outrageous, the jokes are even closer to the knuckle, and the content was bang up to date.
Dame Trot is still trolling the audience looking for an unsuspecting audience member to heckle during the performance. This time it was the turn of Sean, who Dame Trot picked because of his shiny, follicly challenged, head. Thank God, she decided not to search his handbag.
The equally talented James Lecky deserves a big mention, his slimy portrayal of Flesh Creep had the audience eating out of his hands. Sharon Duffy brought a welcome freshness to the role of panto princess playing Jack’s love interest Jill, and when it comes to panto princess, the less cheesy the better. A convincing and impressive portrayal. Meanwhile local lad Jack McCann, playing his namesake Jack, was everything you’d expect from a panto hero.
But it was Silly Billy, played by local man Conor O’Kane, who the audience took to their hearts. His interaction with the audience was infectious. At the end he had dozens of five year-olds queuing up to high five him.
It’s a fantastic cast for a great show – but special mention must go to the Forum for the extra resources they invested this year in the nonhuman characters.
Daisy the cow, whose role ended up being quite a major one, was a real crowd pleaser. I think one or two occasions Daisy’s facial expression changed, or was I just imagining that? Give that cow an Oscar!
Where the Forum have really gone to town this year though it is the inclusion of a giant sized (yes you read it right), larger than life Giant. It was a fantastic sight, and the first time I’ve actually seen a Giant properly take part in a Jack and the Beanstalk panto, rather than just an echoey voice in the background. It made all the difference.
At the heart of it, this is a family filled evening of fun. There’s plenty to keep children of all ages entertained, and probably even more for the mammies, daddies, grannies and grandads.
Expect all the usual madness that comes from Panto, and all those special ingredients that make Jack and the Beanstalk one of the most loved fairytales – including the magic beans, the magic harp and the goose that lays the golden eggs.
Fantastic song and dance routines, hilarious comedy, dazzling scenes and magical special effects.The panto runs at the Forum until December 31.
To book tickets visit www.millenniumforum.co.uk or telephone 71264455.