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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.

Work to complete the final section of the Cornhill revamp in Ipswich has started with the arrival of the first part of the “Four Gateways” artwork which is going up outside Debenhams.

Fares on Ipswich Buses are going up again at the end of November – for the second time in nine months.

Free tickets to go and watch the mighty Tractor Boys play at Portman Road are being given to nearby schools.

A nursery in Felixstowe has been put into special measures after it received its second “inadequate” Ofsted inspection this year.

An Ipswich man suffered cuts and bruises and two broken teeth after being attacked by a neighbour, it has been alleged.

An Ipswich man who allowed his home to be used by county line drug dealers has been given three months by a judge to prove he can change his ways.

A young musician is urging other teenagers to learn to respect one another after she suffered at the hands of bullies.

As politicians in the House of Commons debate the latest draft agreement that has been thrashed out negotiators, business leaders in Suffolk and Essex have shared their thoughts on whether they support Mrs May’s proposals or not.

Ipswich Town supporters were among the best behaved fans in the Championship last season, according to a league table of bans for violence and disorder.

Catering staff at Ravenswood Primary School are serving up 225 hot lunches every day - and an increasing number of those are tailored for children suffering from fish, milk and gluten intolerances.

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