Imagination works wonders in producing a pantomime which entertains the family without costing the earth.
Jack and the Beanstalk is a creation which most amateur groups shy away from due to the technicalities of a growing beanstalk and a walking giant.
Not so Hope Amateur Dramatic Independent Theatre (HADIT) who rise to the challenge in spectacular style this week.
The huge ogre with bulging eyes is a show-stopper as he walks down the aisle, sings a duet with his wife and pats a young spectator on the head as he makes his exit. How Jon Haddock manages to keep that giant head in place is one of the panto’s great mysteries.
Not to be outdone by the big man, Buttercup the cow is also a hit with her super swishing tail and lovely eyelashes. Sheree Smallwood and Shaz Harrison bring the frisky Friesian to life, causing plenty of laughs in the milking scene.
Philip Taylor is the cream of the crop as Dame Trott, batting huge pink eyelashes at the audience and parading four different costumes. He makes a grand entrance in an outfit which matches the cow, complete with udders hanging from shiny pink bloomers, horns as a headdress and little milk bottles strung between them. This is one educated Dame with a great turn of phrase and dreams of stardom on Broadway.
The title role is played by Jo Ellott who puts a new slant on Jack by initially portraying him as a reluctant hero who is afraid of heights. But when he learns that his loved one has been captured by the giant, he puts fear aside to lead a rescue party up the beanstalk.
His love interest, Princess Jill, is played by Jenni Argent. Their duet, It Takes Two, is sweetly sung and among the vocal highlights.
Fiona Johnston brings bags of energy to the role of Simon Trott
Paul Archer is a hiss-worthy villain Fleshcreep as he plots evil deeds and Eirlys Charlton is the talkative Fairy Beanstalk who causes much amusement as she goes off script.
Ramping up the comedy factor are the bailiffs Grabbit and Scarper, played by Cheryl Mulvey and Richard Foxley.
Nick Williams makes a very likeable King Cuthbert and Tim Smallwood literally dons many hats in his role as Prime Minister.
The six little dancers add plenty of charm to the show, playing the king’s soldiers, butterflies with glowing fibre-optic antennae and scary goblins with neon claws. They set the scene for a wonderful panto by dancing around a maypole.
Scene changes are illustrated by the turning of pages in a book. The whole production is an epic success story which unfolds over three hours.
Jack and the Beanstalk is directed by Carolyn Garwes and continues its run at Hope Methodist Chapel hall until Saturday, March 19.