Jack and the Beanstalk at Limelight Theatre, Western Australia


OH YES it is! Popular pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk is branching out at Limelight Theatre, ready to provide plenty of laughs, dance and song.

Written by Ben Crocker and directed by Gwen Browning, the story follows Jack who is in love with Princess Demelza – but the giant who lives in the clouds demands increased taxes and the princess’ hand in marriage.

To pay the giant, Jack is forced to sell the family cow but is tricked and paid in beans instead.

He throws them away but they magically grow into a huge beanstalk, allowing him to climb into the clouds so he can attempt to rescue the kidnapped princess.

“The beauty with pantomimes is that you play around with the script to make it relevant to a modern audience so it can work on several levels,” Gwen said.

“We have modernised parts, thrown in a few extra gags and included some light-hearted satire, plus an eclectic range of music that will appeal to all age groups.

“We don’t pretend to be set in any particular time or place, which is part of the magic.”

One of the main challenges for the stage manager and set designer, according to Gwen, is the multiple set changes.

“I always try to keep the set as simple as possible but the movement of the action does require a small leap from setting to setting,” she said.

“At the very least, the action needs to go from Jack’s village to the giant in the clouds and back again.

“We also wanted to create a special magic with the beanstalk itself, although audiences will have to wait and see what we’ve managed to achieve.”

Involved with Limelight Theatre since 1983, Gwen has performed – as she puts it – in “too many productions to remember”.

She was named best actress at Limelight Theatre in 1992, 1996, 2004 and 2006, also scoring the accolade at the 1995 State Drama Festival.

Gwen has directed the plays Hotel Sorrento, Whose Life Is It Anyway?, Life x 3, Quartet and Talking Heads, winner of best production in 2012.

“Ben Crocker is a highly respected and well-known UK scriptwriter and his pantomimes have all the traditional aspects of pantomime, which pantomime lovers expect,” she said.

“He sent us his script for Jack and the Beanstalk with a blessing to do what we like with it – and we have.”

Jack and the Beanstalk plays at 7.30pm November 25, 26, 27, December 2, 3, 4, 9, 10 and 11 with 2pm matinees November 28, December 5 and 11. Tickets are $25, $22 concession and $15 children – book at www.limelighttheatre.com.au or call 0499 954 016 between 9am and 12pm, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Limelight Theatre is on Civic Drive, Wanneroo.