Review of Scholes Village Players Jack and the Beanstalk


When a packed village hall is filled with laughter, then with cheers, boos and hisses, then you know that pantomime is working its magic.

How better to escape from news of austerity, flooding and conflict than by watching Scholes Village Players delight audiences with a new adaptation of Jack and the Beanstalk.

Their achievement is all the greater when you consider that the 21-strong cast had to manage with just one small dressing room behind the stage.

“Some people changed in the kitchen,” admitted experienced producer and director Anne Kay, who’s pride in her acting and backstage teams was entirely justified.

This was another good family panto from the Players, delivered with pace and energy.

Yes, there were hiccups, such as the huge beanstalk initially failing to grow during one performance. This despite encouragement from the good 
fairy, admirably played by Becky Keeble, though her complex rhyming dialogue needed a microphone’s boost.

In contrast, Richard Moule’s fearsome, 12 foot high giant had his vocal threats amplified so much that two children near the back of the hall dived under their chairs each time he appeared.

Paul Brownridge had the large audience in stitches with his clever portrayal of the prime minister who, in response to demands from the King, assumed numerous characters, voices and accents.

Nick Moule stepped into the monarch’s shoes at very short notice yet delivered a polished performance, while Margaret 
Davey cleverly attracted boos and hisses from her very first entrance, as befits the wicked witch.

To keep the laughter flowing there is nothing like a Dame, a role played admirably by Alan Moule in the memorable style of Les Dawson.

Two stars of the show remained hidden until the curtain call, when Kath Clements and Cath Land revealed their moo-ving relationship with Buttercup, the dancing cow, while Pam Taylor capably played the giant’s housekeeper.

The Scholes players, celebrating the group’s 80th anniversary this year, encourage young people to get involved in amateur theatre and this production was no exception.

Jacob Pyrah, Tom Davey, Natalie Binns, Erin Clifford, Thomas Land, Lucy Moule, Natalie Bateman, Kira Crabtree and Rose Dowson can all be proud of their performances.

So too should the stage management team of Peter Nelson, Ash Lane and Paul Nelson, whose numerous scene changes and colourful sets were impressive.

Ron Miller