Review: Jack and the Beanstalk, Ferneham Hall, Fareham

Jack and The Beanstalk at The Ferneham Hall in Fareham''Picture: Robert Workman
Jack and The Beanstalk at The Ferneham Hall in Fareham''Picture: Robert Workman
Rehearsals for Hedda Gabler by The Bench, April 2018. Picture by Jacquie Penrose PPP-180504-122002006

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Fee, fi, fo, fum boomed the giant at Fareham’s Ferneham Hall last night as the theatre played host to an evening of festive fun.

Jack saved the day by climbing the magical beanstalk and rescuing fair Princess Gill in the Christmas pantomime.

And the star of the night was easily the 12-foot tall giant, who made an appearance as he hunted for little children to gobble up for dinner.

This reviewer isn’t entirely sure how the mechanical character was operated from the inside, but he was a sight to behold.

The stage was momentarily lit up with the light of phone flashes.

Ben Redfern returned to the theatre following last year’s run of Cinderella, and proved an audience favourite once again. Playing Jack’s goofy brother Simple Simon, he drove the show forward.

Joining Ben on stage, and playing his loving mother Dame Trott, was actor Mark Siney.

Also returning after playing one of the ugly sisters last year, the chemistry with his fairytale son makes them a joy to watch.

If you’re going to watch one scene, then the kitchen one is always a winner – it involved eggs, a lot of flour and a flying pancake.

EastEnders’ Nasty Nick, otherwise known as John Altman, took a break from Albert Square to terrorise the audience as the evil Fleshcreep.

The boos screamed in his direction could probably be heard on the Isle Of Wight, as the children took in their stride the challenge of being the loudest.

As the giant’s faithful sidekick, he oozed menace.

The show was littered with family favourite pantomime tricks, such as the scene where the main characters are lost in the forest before being spooked – of course, he’s behind you!

And that’s the fun of pantomime. The family, whether it be kids or grown-ups, are whisked away into a world of magical fun for an evening. And it’s exactly what Ferneham Hall is offering this festive period.

But, in the end, does Simple Simon learn to make a pancake and does Dame Trott get her man from the audience, faithful Bob?

One thing is for sure, the unfortunate cow, which was sold for those mischievous beans, was an audience favourite.

Until January 5