The Coventry Evening Telegraph's Review of Jack and the Beanstalk at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

The cast of Jack and the Beanstalk, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry 2013

Veteran panto dame Iain Lauchlan has not only written this production for the Belgrade Theatre but also directs and stars in it. The children’s TV entertainer who created BBC TV’s Tweenies, plays Dame Trott, mother to Jack and Simple Simon, who helps the village of Prickly Bottom to rescue a princess, a magical harp and overthrow the giant to restore peace to the community.

Iain is as flamboyant as many of his costumes (which include an igloo, a hot air balloon and a fully lit up Christmas tree), providing some of the best laugh out loud scenes, including a rather messy lemon meringue pie making moment where a lucky member of the audience gets picked to join in. Alyssa Martyn plays a traditional thigh-slapping Jack and Craig Hollingsworth captures the audiences’ hearts as the endearing Simple Simon who is desperate to become a pop star.

As with every traditional family pantomime, there are plenty of opportunities for audience participation and there was a touching moment when four children were picked to play in Simple Simon’s band. Local references also generated a few laughs and evil Fleshcreep (William Finkenrath) got off to an unpopular start when he dared to taunt Coventry City Football Club’s current plight, stating: “I would have kicked them out of the Ricoh ages ago - Northampton isn’t far enough”.

A performance with boundless energy, fantastic scenery, wonderful costumes and a rather scary but impressive giant.

A great day out for the family.

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