BATH Theatre Royal have in recent years built up a tradition of good
old fashioned family pantomimes based on a nucleus of experienced Panto players who connect with the audience from the word go.
This year local favourite Jon Monie as Simple Simon and Nick Wilton, in the role of Dame Trott fulfilled those tasks in a skilful manner that
made their job look deceptively easy. The audience knew exactly what to expect from this pair, corny gags, well used Panto routines,
and the community song, from which they drew every last ounce of
response from an audience that loved every minute of heir work.
big names brought in to boost public interest often prove to be
disappointing because of their inability to deal with a live audience,
and lack of commitment to the show, but not on this occasion.
Nigel Havers as Fleshcreep in Jack and The Beanstalk at the Theatre Royal Bath
Havers displaying all the experience gained in playing leading roles
for Royal National and Royal Shakespeare companys, and starring roles in
big block buster TV series and films was a splendid Fleshcreep, the
giant's villainous assistant. In the best traditions of pantomime this
was a character we really did love to hate. You had the
impression that Mr Havers was enjoying the freedom of being allowed to
ham it up, but did so with complete control, this was a top quality
actor who knew exactly how far to go in search of a laugh without
descending into caricature.
Katy Ashworth from CBeebies was
equally at home in pantoland producing a loveable Fairy who proved to be
a fine advisory for Fleshcreep. As usual those involved in the
romantic content of the story had to be content with the crumbs left
over by the laughtermakers, but this did not prevent Sarah Louise Day,
Princess Jill, who received admirable support from David Alcock as her
father the king, and David Barrett in the role of the Giant killing Jack
from making pleasing vocal and dramatic contributions to proceedings. Brightly staged and colourfully costumed there was plenty to please the eye as well as the ear in this production