In my humble opinion, this year’s offering is the best ever!
In keeping with tradition, The Scouse Jack and the Beanstalk very loosely follows Henry Cole’s original storyline. The Commissioner and the Mayor (Andrew Schofield and Liam Tobin) conspire to swindle the good townspeople at The Giant’s bidding; Jack (played by Michael Fletcher) has an uphill struggle in his quest to bed Jill (Hayley Sheen); whilst Daisy the Cow (played by that udder Royal Court regular, Jake Abraham) does his best to avoid being sold to “We Buy Any Cow.com”!
Against a backdrop of fantastic scenery, much silliness ensues, with some cracking one-liners that serve to remind us that this panto is deffo not for the kids. Also when the lovely Hayley undertook the most sensual motorcycle helmet removal you are ever likely to see.
Narrating the show throughout, in her own inimitable style, is Keddy Sutton, in the guise of the Good Fairy.
Emma Grace Arends graces the stage with song and dance as part of the ensemble. Song and dance is, of course, very much part of a Royal Court Christmas comedy – and Wow… Did they do us proud this year?
The show is filled with an eclectic mix of uplifting, foot-tapping, sing-alongs: Everything from a remarkable rendition of Wuthering Heights to some comedic rap delivered by the not-so-angelic Good Fairy; and from Ernie the Fastest Milkman, to a powerful performance of Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell. And with Lindzi Germain’s magnificent delivery of the lead vocals of this 1970s anthem, this had the climactic hallmark of a fantastic finale, yet was still only the end of the first half of the show.
Another stand-out highlight for me, was when Michael Fletcher donned a mousy-blond wig, that transformed him into a Sam Ryder doppelgänger. And I have to admit, he performed the UK’s Eurovision song, Spaceman, with as much feeling and emotion as the original.
As is often the case in this wonderful theatre, the band was on stage throughout, cleverly integrated into the well-constructed set, and overseen by musical director Howard Gray as he alternated between double bass and bass guitar.
The presence of The Giant was felt throughout, as that big booming voice threatened from the heavens. You find yourself wondering whether he will look as fearsome as he sounds. Well, on this point, I’m going to leave you wondering… All I will say is: look out for the very interesting reveal at the end of the show.
“The Scouse Jack and the Beanstalk” was written by Kevin Fearon and directed by Stephen Fletcher. It runs until January and if you only get to see one show over the Christmas period, you really must make sure it is this one. I promise you will not be disappointed.
As always, if you book your seats in the stalls, you can enjoy a splendid meal before the show, from a menu that boasts a Christmas Roast and includes some excellent vegetarian options.
Get your tickets online from Liverpool’s Royal Court Box office.