All-singing, all-dancing ritual murder

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The Independent Culture
Fee, fi, fo, fum, this'll be a show for all the fam. Yes, it's Jack and the Beanstalk, that crazy post-Oedipal tale of impressing mother with your massive shoot, and killing the nasty father figure by performing ritual self-castration at the end. Luckily, kids don't understand this sort of symbolism in fairy tales, so Theatre Royal Stratford East's production of Jack is an excuse for more of the same uproarious fun that this theatre is so famous for during the panto season - the company was dubbed "the panto industry's dream team" by one American publication. Not content with reiterating the same old story for the stage, the producers have wreaked creative havoc for the purposes of entertainment. Jack is now burdened with a comically deranged mother and a henchman who is deeply morally suspect, as you'd expect with a name like Slyboot. Everyone's favourite giant also has some jolly friends, the evil Mr and Mrs Strangle (they're good with their hands, oh yes they are). Singing, dancing, and bad jokes aplenty - and a serious lesson about pruning if your kids fancy careers in horticulture.

To 27 Jan, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Gerry Raffles Square, London E15 (0181-534 0310)

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