Home » London Theatre Reviews » Jack and His Giant Bigstalk at The Prince Of Wales Drury Lane | Review

Jack and His Giant Bigstalk at The Prince Of Wales Drury Lane | Review

Although I am going with my family to a normal one on Christmas Eve, this year is all about adult pantomimes. And last night I saw my second of the year with a trip to the Prince of Wales, Drury Lane to see Jack And His Giant Bigstalk.

Jack and His Giant Bigstalk
Jack and His Giant Bigstalk

Jack (Matthew Henry) is a handsome young lad who lives in a run-down cottage with his mother Dame Trott (Tom White) and their cow Daisy (Joseph Greenwood) in the village of Doggin on the Hill. They are poor and, like most of the villagers, owe back rent and taxes to the evil Giant Queen Genetalia (Simon Gross). The Trotts may have no money, but Jack does have a major asset that has come to the attention of the lovely Princess Jill (Grace Sheridan) who, let’s be frank, thinks Jack is a bit of all right – a sentiment eagerly reciprocated by the lad himself. Their romance is nipped in the bud when Genetalia demands the back money and says they will hold Princess Jill until it’s paid. Dame Trott decides that the only thing to do is sell Daisy, which Jack sets off to do. Will the good Fairy Barbie (Monroe Adams) be able to help Jack in his quest to sell the cow, raise the money and buy back the Princess, and does Jack really need to do a basic course in recognizing dodgy buyers on woodland roads?

Usually, I go to the press night of new shows and see a highly polished performance where the mix of adrenaline and nerves often pulls something spectacular out of the cast. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make the press night for Jack And His Giant Bigstalk so got to see a normal performance, and it totally rocked. This is FUN from the off. Simon greets the audience and gets to know them before leading everyone into a festive sing-song that really gets you into the right frame of mind to not just enjoy but really relish the next couple of hours of pure camp, innuendo-laden, madness.

Simon Gross is an expert at putting together a great adult pantomime and this is no different. In fact, I might go so far as to say this was my favourite so far. Simon’s shows are fast-paced, raunchy, irreverent and have a cast that really appreciates a lively audience participating at the top of their voices. Not that things ever get out of hand. One of Simon’s greatest strengths comes in knowing his audience and how to work them. How to let them run then reign them in if they are getting a little fresh – as one unfortunate tried to be on the night I went. Back to the cast and what a talented bunch they were. Acting, singing, dancing, etc, it was all there. Everyone was not only on their game, but you could tell they were really relaxed with each other and ready to feed off the positive energy of the audience. This was such a great cast it’s difficult to pick a favourite, and maybe one shouldn’t but I did.

No, it wasn’t Jack with his brains very visible in his white tights, Nor was it Genetalia herself. No, my favourite was Daisy the cow. The reason? Well, this was a wonderful performance of an actor who had auditioned for the lead and was then given the worst character in the show and was hating every minute of it. Joseph had a range of facial expressions and vocal tomes that made it clear this was not where he wanted to be. I’m not sure why though. I mean who wouldn’t want to be prancing about in a cow suit complete with bright red vajazzled udder? Surely that’s every drama school pupil’s dream. Speaking of the udder, full marks to Costume designers Katy Taylor and Misty Turnball for producing a lovely range of panto-right costumes including special ones for the final walk-down.

As with all panto Jack And His Giant Bigstalk. Stuck to the rules. There was a lot of music – many of which this old bloke could sing along with – and of course we had the traditional ‘oh yes he did,’ etc not to mention a spot of ‘he’s behind you’ (which can take on a whole new meaning here). There were cheers and boos aplenty – in fact, as the bar was open, there was plenty of booze. And to end, the singalong where a certain side of the audience far outstripped the other in terms of tone and volume.

I’m going to end this review by going all highbrow – I’ve heard there’s a spot in the Guardian review column coming up. When considering Jack And His Giant Bigstalk one is reminded of the origins of pantomime as an entertainment form. This production takes those origins and the traditions associated with pantomime and elevates them to a new level of entertainment, and adult-themed hilarity. According to Dante’s Divine Comedy, there is an inscription on the gates of Hell “Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate” most frequently translated as “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” I think there needs to be an inscription above the entrance to the upstairs theatre bar at the Prince of Wales along a similar theme but with the words “Abandon all your winter blues, ye who enter here.”

All that means is that once you go through your doors, you are going to have a fantastic time and for the next couple of hours all negative thoughts will disappear as Simon Gross and his merry team take you down to Doggin on the Hill on a trip that ends, if you’re lucky, up the Shard. Awesome.

5 Star Rating

Review by Terry Eastham

Join Queen Genetalia, Jack Jill, Fairy Courgette, Daisy The Human Cow, Dame Trott and whole host of pantomime characters for panto fun and frolics. This year’s show will bring you a delightful and risqué version of the much-loved story packed full of laughs and delicious fairy-tale campery!

The show will be led by Big Brother star Simon Gross as the Evil Queen Genetalia!

Ginny Lazzoni General Manager at the Prince of Wales says; “We are super excited for this opportunity to house this gorgeous show, which is also perfectly in line with our new vision of the pub. It’s a show not to miss!”

Watch this space for additional casting to follow – Tickets are on sale – book you tickets now at www.ticketsource.co.uk/theentertainmentproviders

The show will be raising money for the HIV And Aids charity The Terrence Higgins Trust.

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1 thought on “Jack and His Giant Bigstalk at The Prince Of Wales Drury Lane | Review”

  1. Amazing show and cast, we haven’t laughed so much for a long time, will definitely be returning for further shows

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