ACT Theatre Reviews 2021-2022

JACK AND THE BEANSTALK Written by Alan Frayn Directed by Rachel Bunting Tameside Youth Drama Group (Amateur) It was my pleasure to attend this production of Jack and the Beanstalk by one of the newest members to the ACT family. This group was established in 1986 and is celebrating its 36th anniversary this year. It was originally formed by Dennis and Jean Nash. Some of us remember Dennis, in Fiddler on the Roof who made the part of Lazar Wolf in his own. The group now is led by a past member of the Youth Group, Rachel Bunting, who is supported by other members who have journeyed through the ranks together with a small army of volunteers. The dedication and unselfish giving of time by those who strive to encourage the youth of a community to develop a passion for the dramatic arts is to be commended. For live theatre to continue the young adults need direction and opportunities to experience performing in front of audiences. The whole experience develops many valuable transferable skills, such as confidence and team work, that we take with us on life’s journey. A plethora of these was evident in the production that I watched. Katie Wilkins, as our hero, Jack, was oozing confidence as she delivered her dialogue confidently. So too did Millie May Taylor (Fairy Stardust) and Abigail Whally (Piccalilli). It was a shame that the audience didn’t boo and hiss as this often helps the evil character to make the part so much larger than life. The Simple Simon character has to have a catch phrase for every time he comes onto stage – something for the audience to participate in. Robert Doherty established this from the very beginning and had the audience shouting it throughout. Pantomime dames can be played in different ways, from the down trodden and bored of life to the glamourous model. Hollie Appleyard chose the latter as she portrayed Dame Dotty Dimple with ease. It is always interesting to observe how a character is portrayed by the person playing it. Jack Bunting, as King Crumble, was quite laid back in his delivery of King Crumble’s dialogue but still maintained an air of authority and presence on stage. Shannon Brookes, as the exasperated Queen Apricot, was demur but there was a degree of steel beneath the character when she constantly had to correct the king. A new member to the group, Angelina Piccolino, was lovely as Princess Charlotte. The musical duet number between her and Katie Wilkins was delightful. The two hatchet men, Snatched and Scarper, played by sisters Amelia and Elizabeth Kerr, had a fun time bumbling through the plot with silliness. Jacob Worthington (Rancid the Ratman), Aiden Grantham (Humphrey), Reece Buxton (Buster Gut-Bucket), Leo Husband and Harry Melling (RATS) and Chloe Croke/Isabella Bunting/ Joe Bentley/Ava Evans (Buttermilk the cow) all helped the production move along.