As you may remember at the start of this month my good cause was to help support my local theatre with their Panto Jack and the Beanstalk. They were asking for the help of the local community to help them knit a Beanstalk to decorate as much of the theatre as possible. Being a town with a great community it wasn’t long before everyone was getting involved. Also remember the beans we were all growing – Bean measuring day is Saturday 23rd November 2013 and the Cast will also be switching on the town’s Christmas lights on Sunday 24th 2013.
Then I was lucky enough to be invited to the ‘Read through.’ This is when the cast have had the script for about a week and meet together for the very first time. With only some of them ever having set foot in the Roses Theatre before, such as Millie Booth who played Princess Jasmine (and the Genie of the ring) in last year’s Aladdin. But you would have never known as they were all so confident and friendly with each other.
After a quick drink and snack, everyone was introduced to each other by director Deborah Rees. She explained the importance of the community and how they helped: including how they were working along with families affected by domestic abuse. The Cast were explained more about the theatre and what would be happening during their time there (including free tickets to non-Panto performances that would be on, how they would be paid, any problems and so on).
Then everyone went onto the stage, which was set as dimly as could be – but I felt that the lights were very bright. I was told that this was nothing but why you would not see a Panto character in a white shirt, because the lights are so hot that make-up just drips off, and would be really noticeable. Sat in a big circle (on chairs) facing each other they read through the script. I’m sure if I had have recorded only their voices you would have never had guessed they were not acting it out, and not only was there so much clarity and expression in their voices, but their body language and gestures too!
Of course there is plenty of humour and witty comments, and relating to the audience (if you have a sensitive year 6 child maybe bring them an extra bag of sweets. Of course there were the traditional Panto themes – Jack played by a female, audience participation, witty variations from the traditional script, jokes, fantastic props and costumes, boos – a villain (Sidney Slimeball), cheers, singing and much, much more.
From his first entrance, upstaging Jack’s mother – Dame Madonna Trott (Madge for short), my favourite character has to be Simple Simon. With his innocence and funny jokes, he reminded me a bit like Shaggy from Scooby Doo – and wants to run back down the beanstalk. But with the help of the audience he becomes brave (may be a bit too brave at times) and I am so glad that he gets a happy ending.
After the read through I got to have a look back stage. The cast do not get long to get changed into different costumes so have plenty of space in their dressing rooms. The costumes and props were amazing – but be warned when you are told that there is a GIANT in this story, because it is exactly that!
Running from Saturday 30th November until Saturday 4th January 2014 Tickets for
Jack And The Beanstalk cost £10-£22 with concessions available, and can be purchased via The Roses Box Office on 01684 295074 or online at www.rosestheatre.org
SAVE £3.50 on tickets for the following performances – quoting PINKODDY
- Mon 2 Dec 1.30pm
- Monday 9 Dec 1.30pm
- Tues 10 Dec 1.30pm
- Wed 11 Dec 1.30pm
Thurs 12 Dec 1.30pm
- Mon 16 Dec 1.30pm
- Tues 17 Dec 1.30pm
My family will be attending a complimentary performance of Jack and the Beanstalk as a gift for our support of the Theatre.
I have not otherwise been compensated for this post and all words and opinions are my own.