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Review: Jack and the Beanstalk, at Lyric Hammersmith

Vikki Stone steals the show in panto that features sky-high rents and money-grabbing landlords

15 December, 2017 — By Angela Cobbinah

Vikki Stone in Jack and the Beanstalk. Photo: Tristram Kenton

EVERYTHING about this year’s Lyric panto is bold and brash, whether you’re talking about the bubbly performances, booming songs and so-bright stage sets that make your head spin.

But the biggest head turner is Vikki Stone who pulls out all the stops to play the villainous but thoroughly wacky Fleshcreep, and looks as though she’s enjoying every moment of it.

In contrast, Jack, played by the silvery-voiced Faith Omole, is appealingly warm and wholesome, just the sort to get caught up in some funny business over the sale of the family cow. The energetic cast of mostly young actors are fun to watch with Kayla Meikle’s cheery Daisy the Cow – “sister from another udder” – making the moo-st of some terrible moo jokes.

Writer Joel Horwood, though, takes liberties with the traditional tale and there’s a bit of a confusing start, albeit concealed by some high-octane dancing and singing.

Then things take on a more contemporary twist: rents in Ye Olde Hammersmith are sky-high thanks to money-grabbing landlords like Fleshcreep, aka Squire Boris Nigel Theresa Donald Fleshcreep-Mogg. (Subtlety is not this panto’s strongest suit.)

Threatened with eviction, Jack is forced to take desperate measures. Was the Lyric also lacking in cash? The much-looked-forward-to giant turns out to be only an off-stage voice and the blow-up beanstalk is a bit of a flop. But judging by the enthusiastic audience participation, nobody seemed to mind too much.

Catchy re-workings of tunes such as Hey Ya! and The Pink Panther plus Corin Buckeridge’s live musical accompaniment keep things bouncing along to the grand finale, by which time everyone was up on their feet clapping wildly.

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