Wednesday, 19 September 2018
Jack and the Beanstalk | Oxford Playhouse | Saturday, December 2
PACKED with in-jokes, topical political humour and audience interaction, all the required ingredients for a sizzling panto could be found at the Oxford Playhouse.
It was clear this was a much-loved panto venue, with shout-outs to regulars travelling from far and wide, year after year.
Launching with an ingenious shorthand device, a rendition of Lukas Graham’s catchy and tuneful 7 Years was tweaked to present an account of Jack’s recent past, as a little boy whose friends are mysteriously whisked away by a nasty giant.
Likeable Jack (Ricky Oakley) and his sibling, Simple Simone (Emily Burnett, for whom surely a career as a children’s TV presenter beckons), have to get to the bottom (or even the top) of the troublesome beanstalk, to find out the truth, accompanied by their mother Dame Trott along with Goose, Daisy the Cow, and Fairy Nuff.
With the absolutely marvellous bad guy and gal of Harri Co’vert (Alessandro Babalola) and Judy Hench (leggy drag queen extraordinaire, Amrou Al-Kadhi), in glorious technicolor purple-tinged outfits, the scenes were snappy and punchy.
There was lots of lovely singing with great harmonies, and this had some speedy staccato panto banter (ohyesitdid), kids dressed as peapods, a paean to the city spires of Oxford and sweets lobbed into the audience — or rather, “toxic sugar poison.”
The ominous figure of the giant bore a marked resemblance to one of the world’s current leaders, with ginger combover and permanent snarl.
It was the layer of jokes for the adults that I enjoyed, especially the comment “Enjoy your plastic toys from the foyer, they’ll be broken by the time you get home.”
Just the ticket to get you into the Christmas spirit.
Until January 7.
11 December 2017
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