On Friday night we made our annual pre-Christmas trip to York Theatre Royal.
Berwick Kaler’s Pantomime is always a real gem – as I’ve said before, it’s production which doesn’t provide a vehicle for the fading star and as such should never be lumped in with other pantomimes.
Every year Kaler brings a magical production to York – magical and always ready to throw the unexpected at you! This year is no exception – Jack and the Beanstalk but the title doesn’t give anything away when it comes to the plot! Quite what sort of mind can make the link between the Beanstalk and an invasion of millions of aliens I’m not sure but the results fantastic, helped by a core of regular actors and the classically trained villain, David Leonard.
The plot is beautifully summed in The Guardian -
"Instead, the denouement involves David Leonard's dastardly villain being crushed by an enormous chicken while a chorus of nuns swing from some bell ropes and an invading horde of puzzled green Martians looks on."
I don’t like the ‘normal’ pantomime productions so beloved of provincial theatres – they represent the very worst of both entertainment and culture. The public aren’t stupid and deserve better than tired ideas and fading, failing stars. Every year Berwick Kaler, York Theatre Royal and the regular cast deliver something so much better than anywhere else. And this is why people return year after year and travel, in some cases, huge distances to see it.