The festive season truly hasn’t arrived until you experience the excitement of a pantomime and it doesn’t come much bigger than the yearly productions at the Millennium Forum.
It’s a well circled date in the calendar for kids across the country, with many school trips and family days out planned around the festive extravaganza. It’s safe to say that this year’s Forum production does not disappoint.
Jack and the Beanstalk is currently dancing on the Forum’s floorboards and will run until December 31st.
The show contains everything you need to keep the kids entertained. Fairy; tick. Baddie; tick. Hero; tick. Princesses; tick. Dame; tick.
Everyone’s favourite dame William Caulfield has returned to don the wigs and frocks for this year’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk. The Northern Irish comic is superb in keeping the jokes flowing throughout, and also keeping the kids glued to the stage and howling with laughter. And of course, panto wouldn’t be panto without a hilarious innuendo or two.
William takes on the role of Jack’s mum, Dame Trot, a larger than life character trying to make ends meet in the dairy farm with her lone cow Daisy. With two sons to raise, the fearless Jack, played by Jack McCann, and not so bright Billy, played by Conor O’Kane, the panto Dame takes everything in her stride and even manages to excel in her fashion sense. It’s hard to imagine anyone else strutting the floorboards as the Millennium Forum’s panto Dame, for William has made the role his own over the years with his improv comedy and engaging acting.
This year’s production has also seen the return of Orla Mullan as the traditional fairy, in this case, she performs the role of ‘Fairy Rose Petal’. Orla has made the Millennium Forum’s fairy role her own also, with her energy and passion, not too mention incredible voice, she lit up the room when arriving amidst a puff of smoke.
The story plays on the traditional Jack and the Beanstalk narrative with a few added twists. Jack, is a lowly commoner who falls for Princess Jill, played by Sharon Duffy. The feeling is mutual but this does not sit well with the King, played by Andrew Porter, as he has higher hopes for his only child.
The Giant and his pawn Flesh Creep, played by the superb James Lecky, casts a huge shadow on the kingdom through taxation and the threat of being eaten if the heavy taxes are not met. Daisy the cow and Princess Jill are kidnapped by the evil duo so the King turns to the hero of the show, Jack to help defeat the angry Giant
What follows is a story of mischief and fun as Jack climbs the beanstalk with his companions Dame Trot, the King and also his little brother Billy to defeat the Giant, rescue the Princess and of course, save Daisy the cow from being turned into a giant burger.
The script and song flowed easily throughout the show, the cast effortlessly switching from emotional theatre to downright boogie. The set was stunning also, with enough glitter to keep Tinker Bell in business for decades.
The appearance of the Giant within the story was absolutely brilliant. The arrival of a 12 foot figure right on stage had the audience wide mouthed and transfixed.
Filled to the brim with great music, hilarious jokes and great entertainment, yet again the Millennium Forum have shown why they are the kings and queens of panto.