Review: Jack and the Beanstalk, Fairfield Halls
Having not been to a panto for at least 15 years, I was quite excited at the prospect of spending my evening booing and hissing and shouting the classic "he's behind you," writes Hannah Williamson.
Jack and the Beanstalk did not disappoint.
A combination of an excellent cast, cheesy one liners and traditional slapstick had both the children and adults alike, roaring with laughter.
The show starts with Fairy Sugarsnap aka Eastenders Laila Morse entering to a puff of smoke to give an introductory verse.
With a cheekiness in her voice similar to that of her soap character Mo Harris, we did not have to wait long for our first laugh.
As with any pantomime production the trick is to keep the children's attention, but when the majority of the script is cleverly aimed at an older audience, there is no risk of any adults being left unamused.
Quinn Patrick's performance as Dame Trott is hillarious, full of flirt-laden one liners, supported brilliantly by Herbie 'Hey Gang' Adams.
CBeebies presenter Sid Sloane led the cast as Jack, a loveable character you cannot help but want a happy ending for.
Gemma Sutton as Princess Tamara (look out for the special Tamara jokes) nearly stole the show with her stunning voice, but for me it was a case of saving the best til last when Neil Fingleton, the Tallest Man in Europe entered the stage- all 7ft 7in of him as the scary, snarling, hungry giant.
A selection of musical numbers both old and new allowed the rest of the cast to show off their impressive dance skills and vocals, but what really made it for me was the audience participation.
It went beyond the traditional "he's behind yous" and custard pie gags.
But don't worry I won't spoil the surprise- all I will say is peas at the ready.
Jack and the Beanstalk, Fairfield Halls, Concert Hall, Park Lane, Croydon; until January 6, adults £19.50 to £27.50, children £19.50 to £23.50; 0208 688 9291, www.fairfield.co.uk