Jack and the Beanstalk
Jack and the Beanstalk was written and directed by John Hedley, with original music from Paul Grimwood. It was performed at St Barnabas Parish Hall, from 19th to 23rd December 2018.
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Jack Spratt - Hannah Tomlinson
Widow Spratt - Andrew Cunningham
Boris the Giant - Ian Jones
Baroness Borisova, the witch/ ghost - Tracy Brook
Fairy Nuff - Lydia Dickie
Meghan Sparkle/ghost - Philippa Watts
Flash Harry/Michel Barmier - Tim Devine
Town Crier/Rent Collector/Jeremy Hasbyn - Roger Orr
Singng Harp/Daisy the Cow/Villager - Gill Daly
Magic Flute/Daisy the Cow/Villager - Emily Lamm
Golden Hen/Villager - Jane Jones
Theresa Maypole/Villager - Ruth Gordon-Weeks
Villager Soloist - Katrina Rublowsky
Villagers - Judy Douglas, Sue Grindlay, Kate Lipsidge
Writer/Director - John Hedley
Musical Director - Paul Grimwood
Production/Stage Manager - Elizabeth Holden
Lighting - Lucinda Lane
Sound/Front of House - Jan Rae
Percussion - Ray Overington
Poster and Set design - Michael Marsden
Costumes - Jane Jones & Judy Douglas
Hair & make-up - Denise Biffen
Props/Assistant Managers - Chloe Karpinskyj, Emily Lamm, Catalina Ribas Pearce, Yohann Philip
Publicity - Annajane Glyn-Sheppard
Box Office - Lesley Hedley
Review by the Sykes-Powell family
What Christmas is complete without the opportunity to boo, hiss and cheer for a group of heroes and villains in a panto? The Dulwich Players’ Jack and the Beanstalk Brexit Talks gave us the chance in bucket loads as we travelled from ‘Dull-Itch” to the kingdom of ‘Remainia’.
A production on this scale with so many actors, costume changes, exquisite make-up, and a hive of front- and back-stage action, is a major undertaking. John Hedley and all those involved can sink back in their armchairs for the New Year knowing they pulled off a cracker of a show.
Never mind the Bank of England’s warnings about Brexit, here we had a vision of ‘Dull-Itch’ post-Brexit that brought a tear to the eye, a truly grim place presided over by Baron Boris the Giant.
But laughs there were aplenty. Where to start? Any panto depends on an outrageous dame, a vulnerable but strong principal boy, wicked witch and/or ogre, a good fairy … and two unfortunate people who spend their time as the front and back of a horse or cow. Here we had them all.
Andrew Cunningham’s Widow Spratt was a truly wonderful sight to behold. His interplay with the audience was great and his singing strong and clear. We all loved the wig and glasses! And a round of applause for the seamstress who made the wonderful dress. Andrew has found another character role which we hope to see again in future years.
At the centre of the panto was Hannah Tomlinson’s Jack Spratt. Where has she been hiding her talents?! She was a great hit with all the audience and had them in the palm of her hand throughout. It was a real joy to see with what ease she sang and thigh slapped her way through the story.
Ian Jones’ bad boy Boris was a tour de force with a stream of asides to keep the audience booing and hissing. As for Tracy Brook’s Baroness Borisova, well scary was not the word! Behind her ghastly green face, she gave us a marvellously malevolent witch.
We all loved Lydia Dickie’s Fairy Nuff and her slightly bent wand, who, true to tradition, set the world to rights.
We have got used to Philippa Watts’ beautiful singing but she reinforced her ability to mimic accents with a witty Meghan Sparkle.
In such an ensemble piece it seems invidious to pick out others from the all-important supporting crowd of villagers but Katrina Rublowsky’s singing abilities continue to be a tower of strength in the chorus.
Other characters seared into our minds were Jane Jones dressed as a chicken in a superb costume, Roger Orr as an uncannily spitting image of Jeremy Corbin, and Ruth Gordon-Weeks as a mad-cap Theresa May. Well done too to Judy Douglas, Sue Grindlay, and Kate Lipsidge who brought the villagers to life especially in the Maypole dances. These dances could easily have ended in a muddle but it was a mark of the quality of the production that they were exuberant and flawless. Another revelation was Tim Devine’s character vault from a red-headed Prince Harry (aka Flash Harry) to a marvellously, grossly Gallic Michel Barmier.
We cannot leave the cast without a special mention for Gill Daly and Emily Lamm who brought to life the wonderful Daisy the Cow. We were full of admiration and awe as they managed to dance their way through their scenes in what must have been a stifling, sweaty costume in which they could barely see what was happening around them.
What was obvious throughout was that the cast were enjoying the play as much as the audience.
Of course, audience participation is a must in any panto worth its salt and this production was given full rein for the children to join in. At times the air was full of flying sweets, soap suds and foam bricks. We were treated to the inevitable selection of audience members to come on stage where we were treated to synchronised thigh slapping (which is harder than you might think), and the selection of a small boy to be “cooked” for Boris’s tea.
A special mention must be made of the backstage crew of Elizabeth Holden, Chloe Karpinskyj, Yohann Philip, Denise Biffin and Catalina Ribas-Pearce. It is easy to imagine the stress of trying to deal with large numbers of props and cast, with costume changes galore, make-up changes and quick repairs, all in the confined spaces backstage. Nevertheless, it all ran extremely smoothly and quietly.
The lighting and sound might seem easy but there is usually some last-minute hitch or problem to test the crew. Not so during this production, so hats off to Jan Rae and Lucinda Lane (not forgetting Mr Jones’ hard work in this area too) who ensured a seamless flow of lighting and sound effects.
Last but not least, where would any panto be without its music? As usual, Paul Grimwood rose to the challenge and, with Ray Overington on drums, gave the cast a great selection of songs; a particular delight was the duet between Hannah and Philippa.
So, well done everyone involved. The audience thoroughly enjoyed it, you all
enjoyed it, who could ask for anything more?