What comes round once a year? Why it’s the Hastings White Rock Theatre Christmas pantomime of course!
The theatre was absolutely jam-packed with mums and dads, all with excited children in tow.
The venue was buzzing in anticipation of a great night’s entertainment and a number of children were to be seen waving around their fluorescent sparkly hand-held sticks.
This year’s pantomime was Jack and the Beanstalk, which was packed full of song and dance and of course, was peppered with the customary pantomime gags of “he’s behind you” and “oh no he isn’t”, “oh yes he is”.
The headliners for this year’s panto are the lovely Michelle Collins (ex-Eastenders) who played Fairy Spice and looked resplendent in her green fairy costume, and whose entrance was ushered in by a puff of smoke at the front of the stage, and Chico, (former X Factor contestant) who played Jack.
Did you know that Chico’s song, It’s Chico Time, not only got to number one, but it also knocked Madonna off the top of the charts? Well, you do now.
Tim McArthur played Dame Trot who, in his over-the-top costumes, was full of one-liner gags and picked out the unfortunate Mark from the audience to be the butt of his jokes (so watch out if you are sitting near the front of the stage, it could be you!).
Every panto has a ‘baddie’ and our ‘baddie’ on this occasion was Fleshcreep played by Matthew Atkins, who on every entrance to the stage was booed mercilessly by all the children in the audience.
Adam Shory played out his role as ‘Silly Billy’ with finesse and had the kids in fits of laughter with his jokes and his silly ‘do the floss’ routine.
This was a joyous slapstick performance by all and with the over-the-top costumes and bad gags, had the large audience in stitches.
Look out for Daisy the Cow which played a big part in a number of comedy routines, and beware the water pistols!
Andrew Whitehead played King Manypence, while the lovely Lara Denning admirably played Jill, Jack’s soon-to-be wife.
Chico as Jack played out his own scenes with masterful elegance and showed the audience that not only is he a good singer but he sure can dance as well.
Numerous songs were featured in this performance, such as Karma Chameleon and Ghost Busters, but for me the best act of the lot was the butterfly dance – beautiful costumes, beautiful choreography, and the song, Could it be Magic, fitted it perfectly.
Of course we should mention the giant, who wouldn’t have looked out of place in our annual Hastings Jack in the Green parade!
Any pantomime is partly judged by its stage sets and the sets of Jack in the Beanstalk were truly superb. The show was peppered with many sing-a-long songs, all beautifully performed by a well-drilled cast. I find it incredible that all these wonderful actors can retain the enthusiasm, vigour and stamina to do two performances a day – simply incredible.
At the end of the day, this was a fun-filled magical pantomime full of song, music and laughs played to perfection by a great cast who kept the large White Rock Theatre entertained. Mention should also be made to the band just off the stage that also played their part in making the songs so special and I shouldn’t forget the guys who laid on the pyrotechnics, which created an explosive visual experience.
It takes a lot of people to put on a show as good as this and writer Simon Aylin and executive producer Daryl Back should be congratulated for making this show what it is – a great family show and entertainment at its best. Don’t miss it.
Visit www.whiterocktheatre.org.uk for details and tickets.
Review by Malcolm Robinson.