Review: Jack & the Beanstalk – New Wolsey

You know the countdown to Christmas has begun, when the New Wolsey Theatre’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto opens it’s doors, and this year’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk is set to be another festive hit.

Jack and Jill are set to be wed and the party has started, however as always in panto land, things don’t go to plan…

A visit from the evil Fleshcreep looking for young humans to give to his master, the giant, certainly puts a dampener on things, turning the happy couple’s day into turmoil.  Will the wedding still go ahead? Will Dame Dolly Durden manage to pay her rent?   And who, if anyone, will end up on the Giant’s dinner plate?

The New Wolsey Theatre are well-known for their Rock ‘n’ Roll Pantos and this year’s offering certainly doesn’t disappoint.  A very talented cast of actor musicians takes to the stage in an explosion of musical numbers and comical slapstick humour.

Again, this year it is possible to watch the show at home via live stream, something I hope they continue to do in the future as this makes the panto so much more accessible to so many more people, giving them the chance to enjoy some festive fun.

The action on stage is interspersed with pre-recorded visual performances on a large screen, which adds to the action.  It was fabulous spotting the places we know in the town as we follow Jack on his adventures.

Neil Urquhart as Jack and Daniella Piper as Jill are both perfectly cast and produce some very strong musical numbers together.

Steve Simmonds makes a return to the stage as Dame Dolly, and once again proves a hit with the audience, the gags just kept coming.

Natasha Magigi as Fairy Aubergine spreads her festive magic as she takes control of the mayhem and sets Jack on the right path to save the day and find the gold. And, as is the norm with these productions, cast members play more than one character and her portrayal of Gemima, the Giant’s wife was just brilliant.

No production of Jack and the Beanstalk would be complete without a Giant and the one in this panto is particularly good, with just the right amount of scary…

It’s hard to single out any member of the cast in this performance as they were all strong and so very talented.  However, it was a real treat to hear James Haggie (Billy) belt out the closing number as the audience rose to their feet to dance along.

Jack and the Beanstalk will be at the New Wolsey Theatre until 8th January.  You can book tickets for both in person audiences and to livestream at

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a little festive Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Review: Wendy Cook, Ipswich24 Magazine

Photo: Mike Kwasniak