Mansfield Palace Theatre festive cracker towers above the rest

NMAC11-1648-4''Mansfield Panto launch at And Why Not on Thursday.'Pictured from the left are;  Chris Pizzey as Simple Simon, Colin Baker as Fleshcreep, Emma Nowell as Jack, and Stephen David as Dame Trott.
NMAC11-1648-4''Mansfield Panto launch at And Why Not on Thursday.'Pictured from the left are; Chris Pizzey as Simple Simon, Colin Baker as Fleshcreep, Emma Nowell as Jack, and Stephen David as Dame Trott.

ON the day when Prime Minister David Cameron was cast by some as a panto villain - or hero to others - for his antics in Europe, it was perhaps apt that this upbeat farce took us on a journey a million miles away from the worries of money and real life.

For two hours we could all forget the doom and gloom to enjoy a colourful, feel-good performance packed with all the slap-stick humour which makes for a real Christmas cracker.

You are, no doubt, familiar with the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk and how it has become a panto favourite for many down the years.

And this was no different, packed with witty one-liners - including the odd dig at our European cousins, as well as Ladybrook and Shirebrook to come to think of it - as well as acting straight from the top drawer.

Jack and the Beanstalk had everything for everyone . . . song, dance, colourful sets and a packed audience fully engaged with the farcical goings-on on stage.

Oh, and of course a sprinkling of pretty girls for the dads in the audience, oh yes there was . . .

For me, it was the best panto at the Palace for several years - that’s not to say the others were poor.

No, this year, the performance levels and choreography seemed that little bit more polished than previous productions - and it definitely had the X-Factor!

I always find it unfair to highlight any one individual performance, whatever the quality of the production - and there were stand-out performances from many, from seasoned performers like ex-Doctor Who Colin Baker, as villain Fleshcreep, to the young dancers from Direction Theatre Arts and Syncopation School of Performing Arts.

Undoubtedly, the star of the show for the youngsters was Christopher Pizzey as Simple Simon, while Stephen David was superb as Dame Trott - doubling up well with the hapless King (Michael Chance).

And a touch of glamour was thrown into the mix through the easy-on-the-eye trio of Emma Nowell as Jack; Martine McMenemy as the Fairy and Sheryl Lafferty as Princess.

But all good things must come to an end, and after two hours of colour and rib-tickling tumour, it was back out on to the cold, dark streets of Mansfield and to those headlines of that veto and Mr Cameron . . . oh yes it was!

Jack and the Beanstalk continues at Mansfield Palace Theatre until 8th January. Ticket details are available via www.mansfield.gov.uk/palacetheatre or on 01623 633133.