I haven’t been to a panto for six years. I’ve seen enough ITV2 live show replays from the nineties to know all the storylines backwards. And besides, I am far too grown-up and sensible for puns, pranks, poo jokes and lazy stereotypes. Except, it would seem after last night, that I am clearly not.
From the moment Dame Trott made her indomitable entrance, I was gone: sniggering and snorting at even the most obvious jokes. I think I might have been that woman who cackled above everyone else, and who everyone assumed had spent a good half hour in the bar before the show opened. I hadn’t. But it wasn’t just me and my friend in fits of giggles: from the children who stood to shout “he’s behind you!” to the mums, dads and grandparents who tittered at the double entendres and joined in with the singing and dancing, the whole audience loved it.
As grotesques parading tired gendered stereotypes, Dames embody the pantomime spirit. But there was nothing tired about the two queens of slapstick, Dion Davies’ Dame Trott, and Liam Tobin’s Hilda Crankshaft who stole the show with their facial expressions and (not so subtle) mannerisms, and who both delightfully laughed off a slight wardrobe malfunction (no not THAT!) and possible spoilers from a keen member of the audience.
But undoubtedly their finest moment was as backing dancers to a souped-up rendition of Old MacDonald’s farm with MC Donald himself. With body popping, booty shaking and floor-dropping like that they must’ve seen their fair share of nights out in local nite spot Circles. What a wonderfully buoyant pair!
Aside from the predictably nauseating declaration of romantic intentions between Carwyn Jones’ Jack and Evie Pickerill’s Princess (“He’s my boyfriend!”), there was no shortage of revelations and reunions with plenty of plot twists (no spoilers here) and pop-culture references to keep us on our feet and singing along. And were they sung well!
But, perhaps the most under-rated star of the show was the Giant who, with his alternative diet and wish to spread the wealth of his golden eggs, seems to have caught onto a certain political zeitgeist.
With such a wonderfully talented cast Jack and The Beanstalk was a fantastic show, and the perfect excuse to leave the Christmas TV schedule for an evening and indulge is some good old-fashioned slapstick.
The only thing that could have made it better was if I’d been watching with a glass of wine – but then Trotty would only have helped herself as she bustled past, flirting with any male audience members who dared make eye contact.
Until December 31
Directed by Peter Doran