Jack and the Beanstalk by LMCS at the Windmill Theatre.
Littlehampton Musical Comedy Society performed its first pantomime in 1957, and has continued to enchant audiences with the magic of Panto ever since. Over the years, Jack and the Beanstalk has been staged five times, and this latest production certainly did not disappoint. From the very start the stage was alive with colourful costumes, chaotic characters and corny jokes – Oh, yes it was ! It didn’t seem to matter that on the opening night the audience was made up of predominantly adults, as the hissing, booing, plus audience participation was just as raucous as at any matinee !
All the essential panto ingredients were included, with personifications of good and evil expertly played by Janet Webb and John Carroll. Their characterisations certainly lit up the stage and stirred the audience into a frenzy of cheering and booing. Jonathan Groves as Dame Trott, was everything a panto Dame should be – scatty, natty and batty! His costumes were amazing and he wore them with aplomb!
Ryan Richardson, in the title role, was an energetic and engaging hero, and Rebecca Johnson in her first principle role as Jill, played her part to perfection.
A truly triumphant performance was given by thirteen year old Ellie Bennett as Billy Trott, full of confidence and loved by the audience.
Mark Roberts commanded the stage as the bumbling King Maurice, aided and abetted by Barry Bastable’s comic portrayal of his side-kick, Grabbit.
Mention must be made of sisters, Beverley Sorrell and Melanie Bastable, in the endearing costume of Daisy the Cow, who not only tap-danced, but miraculously climbed down the beanstalk ! A truly moo-ving performance!
Throughout the show, the sonorous voice of Carl Buckthorpe as the Giant, thundered throughout the theatre, filling the audience with fear and trepidation!
A huge chorus enhanced the whole show, sporting an array of spectacular costumes, and songs both old and new were expertly accompanied by the Musical Director, Daniel Paine, and his band – Anne, Paul and Luke Whiteside.
There were creative and effective sets ( especially the Beanstalk) and seamless scene changes, and the show contained all the essential ingredients to create a perfect pantomime. Finally, congratulations to Director and Choreographer, Michelle Shepherd-Ede, for producing a first class, highly entertaining Jack and the Beanstalk, which was fast-paced, and performed in a truly professional manner.