Jack & the Beanstalk,
by The Centre Stage Company.
at Haverhill Arts Centre
Once again the talented amateur dramatic company from Haverhill came up with the goods in a show full of brio and humour.
So far there has been five performances of the panto, but two of those, including the one I went to on Sunday afternoon with my sons aged eight and ten, are not listed publicly because IFF buy up all the tickets and donate them to schools and community groups. It is a commendable act of public-minded generosity.
In our case we were lucky enough to get hold of three of the 200 or so tickets given to Westfield Primary Academy.
The show opened with Flora the fairy (Sam Barker) setting the scene and giving the audience a glimpse of what to expect in terms of the plot.
In essence Jack, Wes Ruthven in his first Centre Stage lead role, and his mum, Mother Trott, and the entre village of Farmville is struggling because the crops are failing due to a lack of rain.
Flora gives Jack some magic beans but Mother Trott (played by Steven Roach, whose mastery of the panto dame role impressed yet again, although I swear his bust gets bigger each time) is unimpressed and throws them away.
Of course, the beans grow into the beanstalk, giving Jack the chance to go up into the castle where Jill (Centre Stage newcomer, Faye Dower) lives with the Giant, who is not quite what he at first appears to be, and of course a goose that lays golden eggs - Jack’s passport to prosperity.
On this part of the story, I shall stay shtum as it one that needs to be discovered by the audience.
The backdrop to all of this is that the miserly and nasty villain, Baron Hardup (Graeme Johnstone) and his two stooges, Dollar (Jacqui Rees Player) and Buck (Emma Letcher) are not only trying to reclaim the rent arrears owed by Mother Trott, but also get their hands on the goose.
The first musical number quickly arrived in the form of A Hard Day’s Night, and the show is packed with many more, Money Money Money, Material Girl and You’ve got a Friend in Me to name just three.
The villain is highly booable, as are his hopeless henchmen, Jack is an excellent hero and Mother Trott a saucepot of a dame.
Everything about the show, including of course the scenes of audience interaction, is highly enjoyable. Do go and see it.
Further shows are on at 7pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, when there is also a 3pm matinee.
For tickets call 01440 714140 or visit www.haverhillartscentre.co.uk.