Jack and the beanstalk

Clive Rowe is astonishing: Hackney Empire’s Jack and the Beanstalk reviewed

Jack and the Beanstalk is a big, sprawling family show that opens with a baffling gesture. A booming voiceover announces that Hackney is being menaced by some unseen threat. Enter an evil monster, Funella Fleshcreep, who wears facial moisturiser made from liquefied avocado. This green-cheeked ogre is challenged by the virtuous characters, Jack Trot and Simple Simon, who must defeat her and deliver Hackney from danger. The show starts to finds its way once Clive Rowe appears as the dairymaid, Dame Trot, who needs to milk a dysfunctional, dried-up cow. There are few performers in Britain who are as versatile as Rowe. He can do broad slapstick as well as

Buttercup the cow was so convincing I felt quite moved: Jack and the Beanstalk reviewed

This pantomime was filmed by ‘legendary Blue Peter presenter’ Peter Duncan in his back garden over the summer. It was intended for online release only but it’s also gone into cinemas because this is the world we now live in. Oh no it isn’t. Oh yes it is. Oh no it isn’t. Seriously, it is. Why are you arguing like this? Stop it. As many theatres are still closed, and as most pantomimes have been cancelled, it makes sense to show it in cinemas and for cinemas to have something to show. During normal times the Christmas period is The Favourite and Portrait of a Lady and, while we’re at