All the right ingredients for a giant-sized panto

Jack and the Beanstalk

Jack and the Beanstalk

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Jack And The Beanstalk

Alhambra Theatre, Dunfermline

There is one easy way to judge the success of any panto - the noise levels among the audience.

By that simple criteria, the Alhambra has another winner with Jack And the Beanstalk.

The cast had the kids involved all night; in fact even the overture had folk clapping along.

This performance of ‘Jack’ had every ingredient essential to a good panto - good fairies, a wicked villain, a simple daftie, a wee pour-oot of sweeties for the crowd, plenty of songs and enough local references for the adults to pick up. Even Bill Walker, ex-MSP, got a name check along with some gentle (ish) digs at local cooncillors and landmarks, and not just the obvious ones too.

The story? Ach everyone knows rhe story - the joy is sitting back and letting kids yell themselves hoarse evey time Colin McCreadie (Daft Davy) or the villain, the wonderfully named Flesh Creep - which changed with each and every scene! - milked the boos. Mark Hayden was a great whip-cracking villain, and hIs theatrical mwa-ha-has on exit were simply fab and got a reaction every time. And telling the kids he’d poisoned the half time ice cream, well only in panto would you get away with a line like that!

The cast, supported by a good number of local dancers, all work hard, perhaps none more so than the two good fairies, Jane McCarry and Donna Hazleton who made sure the kids were involved in almost every scene they were in.

The songs will be instantly recognisable to all the kids - Glee and One Direction numbers are all in the mix, and all get the full panto treatment.

For many kids, a panto is their first experience of going to a theatrea. Jack And The Beanstalk is the perfect introduction to live shows, and to a great Christmas tradition that goes back generations.

And As for the kids’ view? My ten-year old guest, Tanith Muir, picked out the good fairies and the villain as the stars of the show, and out of five gave it 3.5 ... a couple more ‘oh yes it is/isnt’s’ and it would have been a four.

Allan Crow