York Stage Panto – Jack & The Beanstalk – A Mumbler Review December 2020
The York Panto is saved thanks to York Stage, who have produced a wonderfully glitzy, funny & very Covid secure Panto to York this Year.
We were invited to go see Jack & The Beanstalk Pantomime by the Writer & Director, Nik Briggs of York Stage. The Panto is at the small studio, John Cooper at Monkgate 41 until 3rd January. Along we went for this novelty family outing (It’s been a loooong time!) in our cheesy matchy matchy Christmas Jumpers ready for some festive fun.
I really wasn’t sure what to expect… I’ve been to the studio before (my girls have done rehearsals there) and it’s very intimate, how would they be able to bring the frivolity and fun of the panto to such a small space, while making it feel safe? Having been to York Stage Productions before… I was hopeful…
We arrived in plenty of time & we had our temperature taken at the door (using one of those thermometers that check your forehead without touching it) The entrance was decorated with beanstalks going up the stairs so immediately you felt immersed in the experience. Hand Sanitiser was available and there were toilets for use.
We were shown up to our seats and I was wowed when I got a peek at the set on the way up.. I don’t know what I was expecting but it’s been such a long time since we’ve been to a live show – it was just wonderful to see the colour and glitter of Panto once again.
The ‘Stage’ is in the middle of the room and there is a single row of seats either side then another row above each side too. We were seated on the top tier and had a fabulous view of the whole performance area. Audience members over 11 years need to wear a mask unless eating or drinking (or have a personal reason why they can’t) and every ‘bubble’ is completely separated by a perspex screen so, even for my slightly more cautious husband, it felt very safe indeed. For More info about all the Covid Secure Measures, visit the website HERE.
The show started a little late as they very kindly held off for a few late-comers (due to the way it’s set up – it’s important to arrive a little early if you can so that there is no rush to be seated) but we were entertained by the voices of Ben & Laura from the York Christmas Mix Radio who gave us a count down to ‘curtain-up’ – this was the first of many very localised touches… it really was a Pantomine by York Folk for York Folk.
As for the show – well what can I say.. .it just had absolutely everything you’d want from a Pantomime and more… the cast were absolutely top class.. from a beautiful kind fairy (Livvy Evans) with just a touch of sass, to a very handsome Jack played by Jordan Fox (mums… there are some enjoyable costumes here for you that don’t leave much to the imagination 😉) and the Dame Trott (Alex Weatherhill) was PERFECT! Some brilliant one-liners, OTT Costumes complete with oversized headgear and cow horns in all the right places.
It was absolutely packed with jovial song and dance – Jill (May Tether) had an absolutely stunning voice and the whole ensemble danced with such energy to brilliantly choreographed routines by West End ace Gary Lloyd. The Baddy, Flesh Creep (Ian Stroughair) was perfectly nasty – My youngest was just the right amount of scared with plenty of ‘Boo’s and Hiss’s’ and then when he smiled and waved at her at the end she was thrilled.
I think my favourite and memorable parts were around the script and the witty gags…. As tough as this year has been for many, it certainly made for some very fresh and relevant material which I felt they pitched perfectly to give us all a well needed giggle. The biggest laughs for me were around the social distancing, which had hilarious implications for Daisy the Cow, and the references to the Extra Vegan Beans (the type you might find on Bishy Road)… such funny, fresh and localised scripting that gave this classic Panto a current day, fresh twist.
There was probably about 50 people in the audience. As an audience member this was amazing… the whole show felt very intimate and it honestly felt like a really privilege to be there and having this experience – my girls loved being able to see the smiles and eye winks of the cast and really felt a part of it. As an adult and a lover of live performances and theatre I, however, also felt a little sadness. I knew that the implications for the company and the actors would be that their potential audience capacity was small… it was obvious that the whole show was a real Labour of Love.. a dedication by all involved that ‘The Show Must Go On’ and I felt so grateful that they had made this huge effort to do this. I wanted to say THANK YOU to them all and let them know how much we appreciate you bringing the magic of panto to our family and many more families in York.
If you haven’t booked tickets yet then please don’t hesitate – let’s show them that their efforts have been worthwhile and I’d love to see this show sell out completely.
Mumbler Top Tips:
Arrive in plenty of time – you will be guided to your seats in your family bubble & have time to order drinks before the show starts
Make sure the mini mumblers (and you!) have been to the loo before the show.. there is no interval (it’s just 90 minutes long) so you’ll get a better experience if you can watch without leaving to spend a penny!
Seats are allocated for you but you can make a special request if needed… downstairs would probably be better for toddlers who are likely to climb on the railings on the higher tier and would be better if you are not likely to need a toilet trip half way through the show. We were upstairs and had a great view.
If your mini mumblers prefer a daytime show then you’ll be happy as there are 11am performances on weekends and the week before Christmas as well plenty of 1 & 2pm Matinees.
Early Show Prices £22 (£20 Concession) apply for shows from the 11-17 December.
Premium Show Prices £27 (£25 Concession) apply for shows on the evening of 23 December and both shows on 24 and 26 December.
Standard Ticket Price £25 (£22.50 Concession) apply for the rest of the run.
Please note, as per government guidance, you will only be able to purchase up to 6 tickets. Please ensure you are only booking for people who are part of your household or support bubble. If you are in a household larger than 6 people please email us to book tickets.
York Stage gifted us these tickets for the Panto but everything written here is our honest view, we pinky promise we’ll always be honest with our Mumblers. This one is fab!