Review: Jack & The Beanstalk Panto at the New Wolsey Theatre

Panto at New Wolsey Theatre. Bessie the pantomime cow and Dame Dolly Durden

Last week I was invited along to the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich for The Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto. This year it was the classic tale of Jack & The Beanstalk with a New Wolsey musical twist.

The performance started at a fast pace with the announcement of Jack and Jill’s impending nuptials. We were introduced to the bubbly Fairy Aubergine (Natasha Magigi) and villain Fleshcreep (Nicola Bryan) who immediately takes a disliking to the happy couple and wants to feed them to her boss, The Giant! As you can imagine, misadventure ensues.

the performance is about to begin - empty stage

The script by Peter Rowe has been carefully written to maximise the jokes and crowd participation. After 18 months of very little theatre, it was wonderful to feel fully immersed in the live experience.

Right from the start, we all booed as Fleshcreep, the Giant’s number 2 (yes, really!), arrived on the stage with a sneering grin at the crowd.

As with every Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto at the New Wolsey, the cast are incredibly talented; they act, sing and play multiple instruments throughout! The plot is propelled along by the clever choice of songs including Hit The Road Jack, Lady Marmalade, Get Offa My Cloud, Go Your Own Way and many more.

(left) Nicola Bryan, (right) Steve Simmonds and Daniel Carter-Hope. Photos by Mike Kwasniak

One of my favourite parts of the production was when Jack (Neil Urquhart) was sent by his mum Dame Dolly Durden (Steve Simmonds) to sell their last cow (poor Bessie) so they can pay off the Giant.

Jack sets off and we see a montage of the characters travelling through the streets of Ipswich. Watching a pantomime cow hop onto a bus in the middle of Ipswich was just brilliant and totally unexpected!

Panto at New Wolsey theatre
(left) Danielle Piper (right) James Haggie and Daniel Carter-Hope. Photos by Mike Kwasniak

Dame Dolly and Billy (James Haggie) are both much-loved panto favourites and they didn’t disappoint again this year. The pair delivered traditional slapstick fun, as well as plenty of jokes to appeal to all generations.

The beautiful sets and costumes should get a special mention – a huge well done to all the backstage crew. I won’t spoil all the fun by giving away too much, but The Giant, Bessie and other farmyard characters took the production level up a notch.

Visit the New Wolsey Theatre’s website to book your tickets to attend in-person or for the livestream to watch at home! Jack & The Beanstalk runs until 8th January 2022.

fairy aubergine and jack and Jill
(left) Natasha Magigi, (right) Danielle Piper and Neil Urquhart. Photo by Mike Kwasniak

Read my review of last year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto.

Featured image: Steve Simmonds, Photo by Mike Kwasniak.

Disclaimer: This was not a paid post. We were invited to watch Jack & the Beanstalk Panto at the New Wolsey Theatre but did not receive payment for this blog post. This is an account of what I experienced and I am not in any way responsible for what you experience. For my full disclaimer policy, please click here.