REVIEW: Jack and the Beanstalk
THE Beanstalk is there, the magic beans are there too as is the nasty rent-collector, however, in this panto retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk there's little else recognisable from the traditional tale.
The Brunton, Musselburgh
Four stars out of seven
When local dairy owner Mither Mandy Moo Moo can't pay her rent due to an over-indulgent lifestyle, the rent collector confiscates her pasture, the secret to Daisy's in-demand milk and dairy products, leaving Mither Mandy and her kids Jack and Jilly broke.
To raise the money she needs, Mither Mandy finds herself taking part in an episode of TV talent show The Voice and then an edition of The Great Brunton Bake-Off... but will it be enough to save Daisy the family coo?
Of course it won't...
Returning to The Brunton as Dame after a decade away, Graham Crammond reigns supreme. Warm and engaging yet boasting a wicked way with put downs and fantastic use of his voice. Maternal and waspish, Crammond is quite simply one of Scotland's most underrated Dames.
Attracting the boos from the kids, Wendy Seager is great fun as she flits through numerous characters as the baddie 'rent-collector', making each one a fully formed little creation in its own right.
Great support also comes from Ewan Petrie as the camp and exceedingly vain Prince Designer Labels and Ross Donnachie as the not so bright and slightly distant Jack. Eilidh Weir, returning for her third consecutive Brunton pantomime is quite brilliant in the role of Jilly and must surely already be in the running for panto principal girl of the 2018/19 season. With fantastic vocals, spot on comic-timing and a great rapport with the kids she and Crammond are the perfect (loving) foils.
However, hard as the cast work, and they do work hard, some of the songs are hit or miss, old favourites such as The Proclaimers' I Would Walk (500 Miles), Eye of The Tiger, I Can Hear The Bells from Hairspray The Musical and Joe McElderry's The Climb all hit a high note, as do renditions of ELO's Mr Blue Skies, Abba's Money Money Money and Goldfinger, but others are instantly forgettable and over-long. Musical production is also thin and the young chorus used too sparingly.
Script-wise this light retelling lacks any real panto routines instead concentrating on getting a basic story told on what is a simple and perfunctory set design. That said, all the local references are there and two chases through the audience bring squeals of delight from kids and adults alike, the cast ensuring that this is one Brunton panto you'll leave with a smile on your face.
Run ends Saturday 5 January 2109