Panto reaches new thanks to beanstalk
A giant of a pantomime is coming to Bucks theatre this festive season. Camilla Goodman chats to the cast of The Elgiva’s Jack and the Beanstalk
Twas a glorious sunny September day and the very last thing on my mind was Christmas. However, it did not take me long to start feeling the festive fun after meeting the cast of this year’s pantomime at The Elgiva, in St Mary’s Way, Chesham.
The theatre has chosen the well-known fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk, but of course it has added some of its own flavour to the classic, including Jack reaching the top of the beanstalk not by climbing, but by flying in a rocket.
This version of the tale is set at a touring fairground, complete with a big wheel that turns and a real waltzer car, and features a colourful set and costumes, a toe-tapping soundtrack and more special effects than ever before, including a cartoon projection of the Giant.
Grange Hill’s Colin Ridgewell, from High Wycombe, returns as the Dame playing Dame Trott – Jack’s mother, newcomers Chris Wills and Mairi Jayne Weir take on the roles of Jack and his one true love Princess Isabelle, established Elgiva panto villain Richard Mann returns as Fleshcreep and Kluane Saunders, who played Glinda in last year’s The Wizard of Oz, also returns as Fairy Liquid.
Producer, scriptwriter and director Stuart Morrison said: “It’s going to be really good fun and I think it could be The Elgiva’s best panto yet.
“We’ve got some great effects lined up and we’re doing a lot of projection this year, as long as it works!
“We like to push the boundaries a little too far, and so far we’ve got away with it!”
Stuart said the soundtrack has something for everyone from ‘80s hits such as I Lost my Heart to a Starship Trooper to modern day favourites such as Disney’s Let it Go.
The pantomime, sponsored by the Examiner and Advertiser, focuses on Jack who lives in a touring fair ground with his widowed mother Dame Trott and a milk cow who’s their only source of income in their diner making milkshakes.
When the cow stops giving milk, Jack’s mother has him take her to market for sale. On the way, he meets the evil Fleshcreep who offers “a bag of gold” in exchange for the cow.
But the bag of gold turns out to be beans and Dame Trott is furious and throws the beans out the window. However, Fairy Liquid is on the case and turns them into magic beans and a gigantic beanstalk grows overnight. Jack goes up the beanstalk and comes to the Giant’s castle where Princess Isabelle has been imprisoned.
Jack vows to save his love and follows Fairy Liquid’s advice to return with the goose that lays golden eggs. However, the Giant soon returns and senses a human is nearby. Will our heroes make it out alive?
Colin Ridgewell, who starred as Colin Brown in Grange Hill from 1993 to 2001, returns as a Dame at The Elgiva for his third year.
“I’m very excited,” Colin said. “It’s been a while since I got to wear my