Jack and the Beanstalk

Reviewed by Nikki Cotter

Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

St Helens Theatre Royal’s half term pantos have become a staple for many families across the North West. Great casts, gorgeous costumes, colourful sets and guaranteed fun!

This Autumn’s offering is no exception as Jack and The Beanstalk packs in the laughs, glittering musical numbers and plenty of opportunity for little ones (and big ones) to interact with the cast, shouting those classic “It’s behind you” panto staples.

Originally broadcast as a live-steamed production during the first national lockdown Jack and the Beanstalk received such a great response that St Helens Theatre Royal together with Regal Entertainment decided to bring it back so audiences can experience the magic of theatre live on stage.

Directed by Chantelle Nolan and written by Reece Sibbald (who also plays Simple Simon) Jack and the Beanstalk is the classic fairytale featuring magic beans and a rather grumpy giant but adds in the twist of an extra baddie, Mrs Fleshcreep who brings additional mischief to the story.

Featuring several Theatre Royal favourites there is laughter from the start as Fairy Mary played perfectly by Jenna Sian O’Hara introduces us to this magical story.

Mark Two and Reece Sibbald make for a great comedy pairing as Dame Dolly Trott and Simple Simon while the always brilliant Timothy Lucas is hilarious as Jack, his thick Scouse twang offering continuous laugh out loud moments as he swaggers across the stage as our hero of the hour.

Olivia Sloyan as Princess Jill is a perfect pairing to jovial Jack while Catherine Cunningham makes for a wickedly wonderful baddie.

There’s sadly no juvenile dancers in this production due to Covid complexities but the senior dancers do a fantastic job of filling the stage & delivering Nazene Langfield’s choreography beautifully. The ‘Light Fantastic’ ultraviolet light section is a big hit with the audiences offering a great alternative to the traditional 3D sequence.

There’s plenty of big numbers throughout which will keep even the littlest of audiences members entertained while of course there’s bucket loads of cheeky jokes for the adults and more toilet humour than you could shake a stick at for the kiddies.

It’s another triumph for St Helen’s Theatre Royal. The quality of their pantomime’s is something to be truly proud of, guaranteed entertainment at brilliant price with tickets starting at £13.

If you’re looking for half term fun then look no further, Jack and the Beanstalk is just the ticket! Fabulous fast-paced fun for all the family.

Catch Jack and The Beanstalk at St Helens Theatre Royal until Sunday 31st October tickets available here.

The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz Image 4 - Credit David Munn Photography

Reviewed by Nikki Cotter

Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Continuing their run of half term pantos Regal Entertainment bring The Wizard of Oz to St Helens Theatre Royal this Easter.

Their reimagined panto version of the much-loved family favourite sees an all new script as well as some star billing including a very glamorous Wicked Witch in the form of Linda Lusardi who is joined on stage by her daughter Lucy Kane, most recently seen on ITV’s The Voice.

The Wizard of Oz Image 1 - Credit David Munn Photography

Directed by Chantelle Nolan and written by panto legend Si Foster The Wizard of Oz tells the magical tale of Dorothy Gale who finds herself accidentally killing the Wicked Witch of the East by dropping a house on her. When the Wicked Witch of the West finds out about her sisters untimely death she makes it her mission to seek revenge but will have to get past the power of Dorothy’s newly acquired ruby slippers to do so.

While The Wizard of Oz isn’t traditionally a pantomime Si Foster’s script cleverly reworks the story to ensure there are plenty of opportunities for the traditional boos, cheers and shouts of ‘its behind you’.

The Wizard of Oz Image 3 - Credit David Munn Photography

Foster’s writing allows for Reece Sibbald’s Scarecrow to take on a ‘Buttons-esque’ comedy role which he laps up. A natural entertainer, both his comedic timing as well as physical comedy are exceptional as he gets into some hilarious scrapes and showers the audience with more than just the usual water pistols. My little reviewers absolutely loved the part where he shrinks in size & giggled about it all the way home.

Mia Molloy gives a great performance as Dorothy, she is in fine voice and more than does justice to Somewhere Over The Rainbow. Her dancing and acting abilities also impress proving she is indeed a worthy wearer of the ruby slippers.

The Wizard of Oz Image 2 - Credit David Munn Photography

The talented cast work well together and keep the story moving at a pace. There’s a sprinkling of cheeky jokes for the adults as well as lots of laughs for the little ones. One moment of corpsing from Lusardi & Sibbald absolutely bringing the house down.

Music of course plays a huge part in panto and its great to hear in addition to some of the traditional songs from The Wizard of Oz there are some recent favourites including Baby Shark as well as a roarsome song from The Greatest Showman.

The Wizard of Oz Image 6 - Credit David Munn Photography

With impressive sets, lavish costumes and strong support from both the senior and juvenile dancers The Wizard of Oz impresses visually as well as musically.

While the story doesn’t allow for a traditional love story element writer Si Foster has added just the right amount of comedic adjustments to give the show a panto feel while still remaining true to the story.

The Wizard of Oz is a hugely entertaining family friendly version of a much-loved classic with ticket prices starting at just £13 this Wizard of Oz is wonderful indeed.

Catch The Wizard of Oz at St Helens Theatre Royal until 22nd April tickets available here.