FEE fi fo fum, it’s fast approaching pantomime season out west and for their 21st production Peel Pantoloons proudly present Jack and the Beanstalk for a string of performances next week at the Centenary Centre.
Written by Dan Crocker, and directed by the trinity of Michelle Cain, Mel Read and Cathy Lord, the Sunset City show looks set to be a memorable slice of festive entertainment.
Next week’s performances are nightly from Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm, with a matinee at 2pm on Saturday.
Co-director Cathy Ward said the show is shaping up well in rehearsals, and the cast and crew were honoured to be asked to switch on Peel’s Christmas lights this coming Saturday.
‘There’s three of us directing, but we’re all good friends and it has worked out quite well,’ she said. ‘We can take different parts of rehearsals, one might handle the dancing, someone else will be in another room helping someone with their lines.’
Cast-wise, the Pantoloons have tried something different this year.
‘Because it’s a community-orientated panto, we hate saying no to all the kids who come to auditions,’ explained Cathy. ‘We can’t have a big cast because of the small stage, so we have teams of children who will do two performances each, and teenagers who will do three shows each. It helps give more people in Peel a chance to be involved, and also keeps costumes down to a minimum.’
Jack himself will be played by Jenny Quirk, and her husband Andy stars at Jack’s foe, the giant.
Georgina O’Neill is the princess, while the baddy – known as Slimeball – will be played by Gemma Varnom, with her mini-Slimeball sidekick played by Hanna Dobson.
Mother and daughter team Jude and Kirsty Clague-Walsh star as a pair of fairies, while newcomer Craig Killey is in as Simple Simon.
Every panto needs a cow, and in Peel this year it is Cameron Skidmore and Peter Fletcher donning the udders for our entertainment.
Kate Radcliffe plays Fix It, while respective veterans of 14 shows each Karen Pendlebury stars as the king, and Andrew Whitmore returns as the dame.
How will it all look on-stage?
‘We have a beanstalk made of collapsible wood, decorated with leaves, which is looking good, and the giant will be stood on an unseen plinth for added height,’ explained Cathy.
‘We’ll have to pad him out too because Andy is too skinny!’
She added: ‘The show has a modern twist. There is a fun horseracing scene, and a mad community song which will go down well. There’s a singing harp, and a golden chicken instead of a goose. It’s a show for all the family. There is lots of laughter, excitement, pops and bangs!’
The performances on Friday and Saturday are nearly sold out, but there are plenty of tickets still available for the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday shows.
‘The Tuesday performances are always the funniest, because if anything goes wrong, it goes wrong then,’ said Cathy.
‘It’s great because it’s a community show, the audience and cast often know each other by name and interact.’
Tickets are £8 from Celtic Gold in Peel, Peter Norris Music in Douglas, Shakti Man in Ramsey, Thompson Travel in Port Erin and from.centenarycentre.com