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Review: Jack and the Beanstalk, Enchanted Entertainment, Ipswich Regent, to January 2

PUBLISHED: 22:26 16 December 2017 | UPDATED: 11:07 17 December 2017

Enchanted Entertainment's panto Jack and the Beanstalk, at the 
Ipswich Regent. Photo: Lucy Taylor

Enchanted Entertainment's panto Jack and the Beanstalk, at the Ipswich Regent. Photo: Lucy Taylor

Lucy Taylor Photography

A ferocious and hungry computer-generated giant, a dance-off between villain and hero and an all-star cast – what more could you want from a Christmas pantomime?

Enchanted Entertainment's panto Jack and the Beanstalk, at the 
Ipswich Regent. Photo: Lucy TaylorEnchanted Entertainment's panto Jack and the Beanstalk, at the Ipswich Regent. Photo: Lucy Taylor

Packed full of crowd-pleasing gags, festive songs and fairytale fun, the opening night of Jack and the Beanstalk at Ipswich’s Regent Theatre saw Christmas well and truly come to town.

This was my first pantomime at the Regent and it certainly won’t be my last – although I’m not usually a fan, this year’s offering, with its adult-friendly jokes and mix of songs, impressed and encouraged me to return again next year.

Britain’s Got Talent winner George Sampson leads the all-singing, all-dancing cast as pauper turned hero Jack Trott – alongside Dancing on Ice star Roxanne Pallett, who plays his sweetheart Jill.

Quick-witted and naturally entertaining Andrew Fleming, also a Britain’s Got Talent finalist, played Simple Simon – prompting roars of excited laughter from the younger audience with his uncanny impressions of Scooby Doo and Kermit the Frog.

His imitations of Donald Trump and David Attenborough also made him a hit with parents and grandparents.

Actor Connor Byrne, who older children and teenagers might remember as Mike in CBBC’s Tracy Beaker, proves himself a menacing villain as evil debt collector Fleshcreep.

Dame Trott played by Martin Ramsdin brings a touch of glamour to the stage – he’s dressed to the nines, and is every inch the classic, flamboyant character.

But a twist on pantomime tradition this year sees 3D glasses handed out to the audience ready for act two.

When the curtain rises, computer generated ghosts, spiders and other ghoulish figures flood the stage in a scene set to the ever-familiar Ghostbusters theme tune.

Delighted children yelled ‘he’s behind you’ as the performance swapped the traditional stealthy villain for a more immersive experience.

There are plenty of other opportunities for the audience to get involved – including a sing-a-long hosted by BBC Radio Suffolk’s Wayne Bavin, who plays Mayor Muddles, and Simple Simon. A tongue-in-cheek version of 12 days of Christmas also provoked peals of laughter.

If you’re yet to feel festive, I’d implore you to spend a night at the panto – it will certainly get you in the Christmas mood.

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