14th Jul, 2020

Plenty of highs during All and Sundry's Jack and the Beanstalk

Tristan Harris 23rd Dec, 2018 Updated: 30th Dec, 2018

ALL and Sundry’s Jack and the Beanstalk at Bromsgrove’s Artrix provided an extravaganza of festive family fun and entertainment.

Like all good pantomimes there was plenty of one-liners, innuendo for the adults and audience participation.

Of the performers, Connor Winter was a sound Jack Trott and Anja Parkes was fantastic as Jill.

The pair were great together on stage, particularly during the songs, including I Got You Babe. Anja has a fantastic range and put in the best vocal performances of the night.

Rachel McDonnell’s solo as the Harp was most enjoyable and you could hear a pin drop in the auditorium when it was performed.

Vanessa Morgan and Ken Messenger worked well together as the King and Queen and Rachel Andress played her role of Alice well.

Ciara Lane was taken to the audience’s hearts as lovable Fairy Beansprout and James Ralley got the crowd going as Jack’s brother Simon.

On the subject of working the audience, David Healing made for a fantastic baddie. As the evil Fleshcreep he frequently whipped up the crowd, earning a frenzy of boos and hisses each time.

And the stand-out performances went to two performers who both owned the stage when they graced it.

One was Rui Greaves who got plenty of laughs as the self-assured wizard. The scene led by him and featuring the elves and Jack rapping about his plan for the giant was the perfect start to the second half.

The other was David Mann as Dame Trott. He built up an excellent rapport with the audience, like all good panto dames should.

And he had many moments of close to the knuckle naughtiness which gave the adults plenty of laugh-out-loud moments.

Other highlights included some fantastic dance routines, choreographed by Martina Ponsonby from the Stage Door Dance Academy, the must-have pantomime cow Daisy played by Erran Lees and Zoe Griffiths and the Giant which was magnificently manoeuvred by Kit Lefebvre.

The UV puppet show before the break was also breath-taking and had the audience watching every movement in awe.

The ticket sales for the group’s productions are going up year-on-year and the cast are played to full houses or near full houses every night of their 12-show run.

It’s not hard to see why after watching this brilliant production, directed by Alison Berrisford.

It had everything and I can’t wait to see what All and Sundry come back with next year.

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