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Jac and the Beanstalk at New Theatre, Cardiff

Review by Sophie Platt

It’s panto season and the New Theatre is presenting the classic Jac and the Beanstalk. We were lucky enough to be invited to review it last night (Tuesday 12 December).

Jac and the Beanstalk is a tale I am sure everyone is familiar with. It is a story about Jac, who sells his cow Daisy for some magic beans. After the beans get thrown out in anger, overnight they blossom into a magnificent beanstalk, leading up to the giant’s castle. Jac, with the help of Jill, Simon, Dame Trot and the Spirit of the Beans must defeat the giant before he defeats them.

As always, panto is a kickstarter for December bringing festive cheer and happiness to those who attend, and this year is no different. Starring Lesley Joseph as the Spirit of the Beans, Mike Doyle as Dame Trot, Aaron James as Silly Simon, Denquar Chupak as Princess Jill, Steve Arnott as Fleshcreep and Adam Bailey as Jac Trot.

Lesley Joseph, best known for playing Dorian Green in the sitcom Birds of a Feather, is hilarious. Although she is not the comic role, she has an abundance of jokes, and her chemistry with the villain Fleshcreep, played by Steve Arnott is brilliant. Steve in particular as well, looks so creepy, and evil. He reminded me of the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (who I was terrified of), so the makeup team have definitely done a fab job.

And it isn’t a Cardiff panto without mentioning the amazing Mike Doyle who is once again starring as the panto dame – Dame Trot. As soon as he steps foot on the stage, you can hear the crowd start to shout his catchphrase at him. As ever, he was brilliant and hilarious, the perfect pantomime dame.

Pic Tim Dickeson 08-12-2023 Jac & The Beanstalk

It sounds like a cliché, but this production is honestly suitable and enjoyable for all ages. There were plenty of fart jokes for the kids to enjoy and the occasional adult joke for the grown-ups. Every year, one of my favourite parts is the 12 Days of Christmas, and this year I was pleasantly surprised to see a new spin on it which was just as funny and imaginative as ever.

The creative team for this production also introduces a new effect to the theatre which I have never seen used before, and it elevated the magic and imagination of the show. The room erupted with noise during this scene, so I would highly recommend it to experience this,

Pic Tim Dickeson 08-12-2023 Jac & The Beanstalk

One of the joys of panto is seeing the cast having as much fun performing it as the audience do watching it. And there s certainly plenty for everyone to enjoy in this spectacular festve treat.

Jac and the Beanstalk is in Cardiff until Sunday 7 January 2024 so make sure to get your ticket for this amazing, festive performance. Tickets are available by ringing 0343 310 0041 or by clicking here

Photos by Tim Dickenson

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