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 Connecting professional and amateur theatre in Newbury, West Berkshire and beyond

Hexagon - Jack and the Beanstalk

7th December 2002 to 5th January 2003.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

A show full of beans

JACK AND THE BEANSTALK, at The Hexagon, until January 5

It's that time again - men in drag, fairies, giants, dancers and characters with funny names like Princess Apricot Crumble and a fellow called Fleshcreep. Really? Oh no it's not, oh yes it is.

And there's lots of business with people going around in circles, ignoring the cries of "look out, it's behind you." "Where?", "Behind you". "Well why didn't you say so?"

What is it about the British pantomime that attracts thousands of otherwise sane people to sit in a theatre for two hours, stand up when they're told to, talk to the stranger standing next to them when told to and generally to sit around listening to very old jokes and laughing and cheering ecstatically?

Well, I don't know any more than you, but I do know that my wife met a middle-aged woman who claimed that she'd never in her life been to a pantomime, this was her first and she enjoyed every minute of it. And why not, with such sights as Keith Chegwin in shorts and Carol Harrison as Fairy Courgette.

Carol Harrison? I suppose it is the transitory nature of appearing in soaps like "EastEnders" that causes me to wonder why I can't remember her in past episodes. As for the leading man my computer questions the word 'Chegwin' and suggests 'Chagrin'. Well...

The production though was bright, polished and full of jokes, laughter and songs and you can't ask for much more than that, can you?

Lucy writes: The panto was great. My favourite part was when die Fairy Courgette pretended to be Nancy the milkmaid. I thought Jack was funny because he rang the bell round the cow's neck and his mum asked him why and he said because the horns don't work. I don't think the giant was scary but instead of shredded wheat he had a packet of shredded people."

Director Leslie Lawton also played Dame Trot, and Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men appeared under licence from BBC Worldwide. Everybody worked hard including the three-man band of musicians and a good time was had by all.