Jack and the Beanstalk review – the climate crisis reaches panto season | Panto season


The temperature is rising in Middle Perth. Nobody says it in so many words but the opening salvo of songs tells you all you need to know: Walking on Sunshine; Hot in Herre; Hot Stuff; (Feeling) Hot Hot Hot. Becky Minto’s designs point in the same direction: everything is bathed in an unseasonal orange, offset by the lime-green tartan trews.

You wouldn’t know if from the tightly choreographed routines and the all-round air of jollity, but this is a Jack and the Beanstalk for the age of global heating. If panto plot points are your thing, look away now, but it turns out Kirsty Findlay’s intrepid young Jack is not only making an attempt on Beinn Mucklemichty, the least climbable peak in the land, but on a mountain of fossil fuel.

Helen Logan, going by the unequivocal name of Baddie, is all set to burn the lot having already devastated the rural economy, not to mention the habitat of the cute mountain hares. Who needs an actual giant when you find this monster at the top of the beanstalk? Luckily her New Age past is about to catch up with her.

Kimberley Mandindo, Maggie Moo the Highland Coo and Somers. Photograph: Mihaela Bodlovic

If that sounds too on-message for its own good, Barrie Hunter’s big-hearted show never makes it seem so. He outsources Jack’s traditional stupidity to Ewan Somers as brother Jock (there is a lot of alliteration) and takes on the role of dame himself, his Lettie Lou more cuddly than caustic.

If it could do with a few more gags in the first half, it regains momentum in the second, buoyed along by Alan Penman’s music direction and Chris Stuart Wilson’s choreography, creating a bright and likeable show that ends – how else? – with snow.

Until 31 December

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