It was a leap of faith taking our children, aged three and six, to a 7pm panto performance as they are normally heading to bed at this late hour.
Would they nod off mid-show or demand an impromptu tour of the foyer like they do at the cinema?
We needn’t have worried as this new adaptation of Jack & the Beanstalk by playwright Andrew Pollard just races along with gags aplenty, slapstick and some great singalong tunes for all the family.
The fantastic two-hour show was so memorable the kids were still talking about it the following day. They thought the ‘growing’ beanstalk was magical and the giant was proper scary!
Both three-year-old Lottie and Harry, six, loved the zany Dame Dorothy Trott (Robin Simpson) and the dastardly baddie Nightshade, wonderfully played by James McLean who is an ultra-camp cross between Alan Carr and Alan Rickman.
Lottie was grinning and chuckling at the dancing cow Buttercup and both children enjoyed the interaction in true panto style.
We grown ups enjoyed the risqué jokes (which didn’t overstep the mark) and the reference to real life panto villain Donald Trump’s funny hair.
We also loved all the songs, beautifully performed by the cast including Jack (Thomas Cotran), King Crackpot (Declan Wilson) and Princess Jill (Megan Turner).
And top marks to the cast for the amusing versions of Bohemian Rhapsody and Boom! Shake the Room.
As it ended Lottie said she wanted to see Jack & the Beanstalk again...RIGHT NOW!
And Harry gave it top marks, telling me: “The beanstalk looked like it was growing.”
Lottie admitted she had been scared by the giant (she hid her eyes and there were a few tears) but Harry thought it was brilliant.
The show kept the children’s attention the whole way through which is why good theatre usually trumps a cinema trip. The production programme was worth £2 thanks to puzzles/colouring which the kids did during the 20-minute break.
If you like your pantos camp, colourful and a bit crackers, you’ll love this production. And the kids will too.
* Jack & the Beanstalk is at the Lawrence Batley Theatre until Saturday January 6. The Box Office is on 01484 430528.