Jack and the Beanstalk - January 2007
Click on the photographs above to open full size images from the pantomime
Thirty seven years ago pantomime became a traditional part of the Hethersett year.
This year’s village offering of Jack and the
Beanstalk is surely the best yet.
Hethersett Pantomime Group has managed to mix
superb sets and costumes with both the traditional and futuristic for
their 38th production.
The latest offering transcends traditional panto.
All the fun, slapstick and comedy are still there but parts of the show
lean more towards musical theatre than pantomime. This all mixes
together to give a wonderful variety show full of pace and colour and a
long way from the inaugural production way back in 1970.
This year writer and producer Duncan Pigg and
Director Sarah Wright have pulled out all the stops to produce both a
surreal and wacky off the wall product.
The group combines better than ever with some very
strong performances throughout the cast.
Lloyd Parfitt is the quintessential chirpy chappy
once again in his role as Simple Simon (who turns out to be a lot wiser
than his name suggests). Lloyd has the ability to melt the audience with
his ad libs and personality.
The part of Jack is played with great charm by
Rachel Woodier and, as with virtually every year, much of the laughter
is injected by two Hethersett Pantomime veterans in Neville Greenhalgh
as Widow Lovejoy and Barry Foster as Lord Hardup. Both have the ability
to inter-act with the audience throughout the show and Widow Lovejoy’s
costumes get more expansive as the evening progresses.
Flip and Flop (Lewis Cook and Steve Bussey) inject
Norfolk humour and Bonnie Wood and
Rebecca Molloy are delightful as Roxy and the Good Fairy. One of the
stars of the show is the mechanical Giant Grindbones who looks menacing
enough without being truly frightening.
It may sound implausible but somehow the group
manage to blend the traditional Jack story into the futuristic setting
of Satell City with its robots, Daleks and even Dr Who, the latter
played admirably by David Reynolds.
Colin Wilson’s scenery has to be seen to be
believed. He mixes village green scenes with stunning futuristic
landscapes and the science fiction backdrop that opens the second half
brought gasps of appreciation and a spontaneous round of applause from
Much of the vaudeville aspect of the panto comes in
the form of early scenes centred around a jazz festival which gives the
producer and director the opportunity to celebrate their love of the
musical genre. Far from detracting from the overall plot, the jazz
festival element adds to the overall feel of a fine evening’s
entertainment. It gives Sue Tuckwood the opportunity to weave in a jazz
solo that suits her voice beautifully.
Mention should also go to the five piece orchestra
under the direction of local GP Tony Press.
Those involved will be hard pressed to top this
production next year.
Each year the production raises money for good causes and a collection was made at the end of every show this year for the East Anglian Air Ambulance. Since 1970 over £49,000 has been donated from pantomime profits and bucket collections to various organisations and charities.
© Peter Steward 2007
Townsfolk, Robots and Dancers