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

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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

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