Review Round Up: Jack and the Beanstalk, London Palladium

We take a look at what critics have been saying about the London Palladium’s latest pantomime.

(c)Paul Coltas

The Guardian: **** “Zerdin, who co-created the show, lacks warmth as simple Simon. But French and Clary have lots of sardonic fun and Havers is a great sport as everyone’s whipping boy. Money talks, finally, and so does the skill of old pros: light on giant-killing it may be, but this is giant entertainment.”

The Stage: **** “In this return-to-form extravaganza, shimmering set design and a vibrant ensemble including Dawn French, Nigel Havers, Gary Wilmot, Alexandra Burke and Julian Clary deliver a truly extravagant show.”

Evening Standard: **** “No expense has been spared, with dancers, deafening bangs, flames shooting up and a lavish set design from Mark Walters. Visual high points include the animatronic giant who really is gigantic and Jack scaling a beanstalk which stretches to the Palladium ceiling. Needless to say Clary’s character was suitably awestruck by this impressive erection.”

WhatsOnStage: **** “All in all, this is a tremendous return to form: a massive star-studded spectacle that, just for a couple of hours, makes the world seem like a happier, more colourful place. Enthusiastically recommended.”

(c)Paul Coltas

The Telegraph: ** “Even Julian Clary’s smut has been dialled down, while meta jokes just highlight the lack of fresh material.”

Time Out: *** “Blue jokes, joyful dance numbers, gasp-worthy fireworks… Michael Harrison’s production hits every possible panto mark except one, and that’s actually making you feel something.”

London **** “Now in its sixth year, the pantomime suffers slightly from its self-awareness and leaning into stale territory. If you’re a newcomer, chances are you won’t get jokes that rely on moments in previous years. You’ve probably seen the skits in a previous iteration too: Paul Zerdin does a five-minute ventriloquist set, Gary Wilmot performs another “list song” (this time listing all the ailments and their respective remedies), and more. But again, this is pantomime, and pantomimes rely on similarities as a comforting way to tell a story. And we all need comforting on these cold winter nights.”

The Daily Mail: ***** “And while the show feeds off Clary’s energy and his ‘smut tsunami’, the other principals all get their moment, too. French and Burke have a Strictly dance-off, Gary Wilmot (Queen Nigella) does his ‘list’ song party piece — this year ‘I’ve Not Been Well’, about medical conditions — while ventriloquist Zerdin (with puppet Sam) as Silly Simon shines in his tongue-twister scene.”

(c)Paul Coltas

British Theatre Guide: “New Palladium panto designer Mark Walters brings added dynamism to proceedings with electric arches of neon rainbow cursing through the stage and one of the most impressive beanstalks to have ever graced Pantoland. This pure spectacle, with plenty of silliness, is further enhanced by Ben Cracknell’s eye-popping lighting design and Karen Bruce’s energetic choreography, which never stops for breath and champions the world-class talent upon the West End stage as seen in the 16-strong ensemble.” **** “We wonder how the riskier material is going down and the young family next to us are absolutely in stitches throughout. Clary turns his attentions on his audience’s attire: ”There’s people wearing felt out there. Where can you get felt round here? Round the back of Morrison’s.’”

Jack and the Beanstalk continues to play at the London Palladium until the 15th January 2023. To book tickets click here.

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