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Review: Jack & the Beanstalk, Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, until January 10

PUBLISHED: 15:25 03 December 2015 | UPDATED: 18:42 03 December 2015

Jack (Oliver Mawdsley), Tina Trumpington (James Parkes), Duke Box (Chris Clarkson) and Jill (Louise Olley)  in Jack & the Beanstalk at the Theatre Royal, in Bury St Edmunds.

Jack (Oliver Mawdsley), Tina Trumpington (James Parkes), Duke Box (Chris Clarkson) and Jill (Louise Olley) in Jack & the Beanstalk at the Theatre Royal, in Bury St Edmunds.

Copyright: Keith Mindham Photography

Crazy characters, colourful scenery, wise-cracking gags, super songs, bags of audience participation, a scarey giant ... and all punctuated with flatulence.

Yes it can only be panto time.

And what a pantomime this year’s production is by the hugely talented team on stage and behind the scenes at the Theatre Royal.

There’s so much fun and laughter in store that it looks set to be another huge festive hit over the coming weeks.

The cast is set for a punishing schedule before the final curtain comes down on the production next month following dozens of performances but they are bound to put a spring in the step in the audiences that will be flocking to see this year’s Bury panto.

There’s music, magic, jokes, heroes and villains.

Poor Jack (Oliver Mawdsley) is down on his luck. He’s in love with Jill (Louise Olley), the super cool Duke’s daughter and is also having to deal with his mother Tina Trumpington (James Parkes), whose name kind of gives away the fact that she’s the “wonderful windy woman” from the village.

Her misfortunate complaint is put to great effect throughout and needless to say grabs a lot of the laughter along with her wonderful fun role as the dame.

On top of all his problems Jack is going to have to sell his cow Daisy to meet the tax demands from the evil giant from above.

But when he gets a handful of beans, instead of money for his beloved bovine, Tina is none too pleased and throws them out of the window and sure enough, with a little bit of rain, the huge beanstalk grows high into the sky and into the land of the giant.

From there begins a tale of unlikely heroes, of magic, of love ... and panto joy.

Jack and Jill are the perfect match and Duke Box (Chris Clarkson) has to be the most hip man in the building with his amazing hair and lookalike Elvis outfit and voice. He doesn’t miss a chance to give a rendering of The King at every opportunity.

Throw into the mix Ghastly Gordon (Alan Mehdizadeh), the man who says it’s “fun to be fiendish” and who wants to cook a Bury baby for the giant, along with his batty comical sidekick Sue Chef (Nancy Hill) plus the voice of reason in the shape of the wise Wendy (Leonie Spilsbury) and you’ve got a recipe for success.

You’ll love the rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody plus a string of other well known songs including Uptown Funk, Walking on Sunshine, Bad, Bring Me Sunshine and River Deep Mountain High and you’ll all be singing Milk Glorious Milk as you walk away from your fun-time out at the theatre.

See details of other Christmas pantos taking place across Suffolk and Essex here

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