I SHOULD confess from the outset that pantomimes aren’t normally my chosen form of theatrical entertainment, but being the curious sort, I decided to take up Aberdeen Performing Arts on their offer to do a review.
The show opens in spectacular fashion with a floating Elaine C Smith as ‘Fairy Flora’, who guides the eponymous, but educationally sub-normal hero (Jordan Young) to defeat the giant, and his henchman, the insecure, muscle-flexing Fleshcreep (Tom McGovern). They are joined by Jack’s hyperactive mother Heather MacBlether (Alan McHugh), with Princess Apricot (Amy Creighton) and King Crumble (Sean Scanlan).
It’s a rip-roaring comedy ride which kids and adults alike will enjoy. The Glaswegian patter is, perhaps, a bit fast paced to the north-eastern lug, but it’s soon picked up, and there are points where even the adults in the audience will find it difficult to stifle a laugh.
Elaine shows off that she’s come a long way from Mary Doll, with super performances of new songs as well as a few classics, while Jordan Young does a smashing turn as a Jack who is so stupid we really shouldn’t sympathise. My favourite character, though, has to be Tom McGovern’s Fleshcreep, who elicited a vigorous booing from the children, despite the crowd being fundamentally quite tame. Winding up a docile Aberdonian crowd takes some doing, and Mr McGovern does it well.
The special effects are a mixed bag: the giant I found distinctly un-scary, but then I am 27. However the pyrotechnics, and Fairy Flora’s flight were amazingly well done, as was the music and the performances from the dancers who captured the essence of the story beautifully.
It’s a modern, Scottish spin on an old story which does justice to the original while keeping it fresh and introducing new elements. It’s something the whole family can get a laugh at, with humour for the adults as well, subtly done (and not so subtly).