‘Something for everyone’: Pantomime fever set to grip Havering once again with Jack and the Beanstalk
PUBLISHED: 15:01 15 November 2018 | UPDATED: 15:25 15 November 2018
Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum it’s almost panto time at the Queen’s Theatre!
The action-packed Christmas pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk is coming to Hornchurch this festive season.
Brought to you by the same team as last year’s record-breaking Beauty and the Beast and 2016’s Cinderella, this actor musician version of the popular panto tale is filled with bundles of audience participation and hilarious slapstick comedy.
When Jack sells Pat, his beloved family cow, for magic beans, he soon discovers they open up an unexpected world of thrilling adventure.
Join Jack and dotty mum Dame Trott as they scale the Beanstalk, outwit the Giant and are reunited with Jill, the girl Jack loves.
James William-Pattison who plays the leading role of Jack, said the Queen’s Theatre’s version of the pantomime brings some more romance to the story.
“It’s all singing, dancing and live instruments, but amongst the hard work we’re just laughing all the time,” he said.
“The musical still has the traditional aspect of panto, with the beanstalk and the giant, but it’s combined with a story of the underdog, Jack.
“Jack is a fairground worker who wants to break free from his lowly job and rescue the girl he loves. It’s a nice romance.”
James, who is originally from Hartlepool, never had the opportunity to go to many pantomimes when he was young.
He told the Recorder: “My first experience of a pantomime was about three years ago when I saw a rock‘n’roll pantomime,” he said.
“It just blew my mind - how all of the music was played live, as well as the fact that most of the gags were suitable for both children and parents.
“I thought it was quite an entertainment machine.”
Speaking about what makes pantomimes special, the Hartlepool actor said, “they appeal to everyone.
“I think sometimes parents might be reluctant to take their kids to the theatre if they’re worried that it might be too intense for them.
“Pantomimes are really light hearted and it takes the stress off parents in that sense.”
The Jack and the Beanstalk cast includes John Barr, Hollie Cassar, Ceila Cruwys-Finnigan, Richard Emerson, Sheldon Greenland, Claire Greenway, Taylor Rettke and Elizabeth Rowe.
They will be supported by a talented Young Company, a cast of 30 local schoolchildren.
“It’s great because they are hilarious and so talented,” said James.
“Sometimes we might get a step wrong, and we can just turn to the 13-year-old next to us who is always doing it right.
“They keep us in check.”
The Christmas spectacular show is peppered with a wide range of pop hits, including This is Me from The Greatest Showman, Great Balls of Fire, 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton, Reach for The Stars by SClub7, One Way or Another by Blondie and many more.
James added: “With our range of music we have got songs from nine different decades, so there really is something for everyone.
“My favourite song is our big opening number which is from the musical Catch Me if You Can. It’s a huge blow-out to start the show.”
Audiences might recognise the leading actor from his recent performance as Andrej in Queen’s Theatre’s popular musical Once.
James said: “It was wonderful, a really great thing to happen between Queen’s Theatre and the New Wosley Theatre Ipswich.
“I think the theatres are very similar in community involvement.”
Jack and the Beanstalk is written by Andrew Pollard and directed by Martin Berry.
The pantomime will be showing at the Queen’s Theatre in Billet Lane from November 28 - January 6.
Several access performances will be taking place with a relaxed performance on Wednesday, January 2 at 5.30pm, a dementia friendly performance on Thursday, January 3 at 1.30pm followed by a signed performance and an audio described performance on Friday, January 4 at 1pm.
To book tickets call the Box Office on 01708 443333 or visit queens-theatre.co.uk.