Ribchester Amateur Theatrical Society returns to the stage in February with their latest pantomime offering.
RATS, Ribchester’s am-dram group kick off 2018 with a brand new version of Jack and the Beanstalk, subtitled, Once Upon A Time In Lancashire; Lock,
Stock and Two Smoking Hotpots.
Written and produced by award-winning pantomime writer William Thomas, and directed by RATS chairman David Procter, this latest modern telling of Jack and the Beanstalk, offers much slapstick, silliness, sarcasm and family friendly entertainment.
Mr Thomas has written a pantomime with plenty of traditional elements, warm humour and audience participation. However, the story drags Jack and the Beanstalk firmly into the present, the plot revolves around the Giant, corrupt businessman Hugh Mungus, trying to take over the world through Social Media.
Sound familiar? Paul Bell plays Hugh Mungus with pomp and slime in equal measure. He blends together Trump, Rupert Murdoch and Sherlock’s Moriaty into a hidious satrical mess of vulgarity and sarcastic humour.
The title character, Jack, is played by Daniel Riding. His love interest, "the incidental" Rosie, is played here by Emma Smith. Together they have a bright dynamic aided by Mam, a dame-like character, however in a twist, being played straight by a woman rather than a man in drag. Charlotte Green takes the reins superbly well and manages to weave between inquisitive ringleader and sharp tongued northern battleaxe with ease.
he real star of the "Goodies" though falls to comedy fall guy George. Laura Nickson makes George her own, taking the legs from many a situation with a matter of fact remark as she ambles about in a Parka, her comedy timing is beautiful. The scene between George and the pawn shop owner Dirty Barry (Conor Nutter), is worth the admission price alone.
Chas Hinkley finds himself in drag playing Svetlania, Hugh’s new eastern European Girlfriend, where as Chrissie Collinson plays Eleanor, Hugh’s down trodden ex wife. Adding more comedy is the two side troupe’s of the production. Firstly, the Bexleyheath Bogtrotters, played here by Jim Walker and RATS newcomer Simon Elcomb. These two add vital slapstick humour and silliness, you can appreciate them at any age, however, if you are five,six,seven or eight, you are at a prime age to embrace their daft energy.
Additionally, there are the three Russians who are there to "intervene" and cause much chaos. Boris, Dimitri and Mikhail, played by Grace Talbot, Sam Soper and Dora Green respectively, their main scene is a rehash of Monty Python’s four yorkshire men, only talking about how battle hardened they each are.
As ever, no version of Jack and the Beanstalk would be complete without a Harp, played by Olivia Soper, or a Goose, played by Matthew Rimmer. There is also a pantomime cow, Daisy, for good measure!
Keeping it all in check is the responsibility of narrator, Emily Watts. Miss Watts is a seasoned RATS member and cuts across the actors with sarcasm and rallies the audience accordingly, being not only a ringmaster, but also the voice of reason and control. Miss this production at your peril, it is family friendly and an immensely fun caper that balances between being a warm love letter to the north and its humour, but also a scathing sarcastic, satirical attack on the digital world, modern day politics and reality tv/internet culture.
Jack and the Beanstalk; Once Upon a Time in Lancashire... Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Hotpots opens Thursday, February 1st and is being performed on Friday, February 2nd, and
Saturday, February 3rd, plus during the following week on Thursday, February 8th, Friday, February 9th and Saturday, February 10th.
All performances in Ribchester Village Hall start at 7-30pm. It's £6 a ticket and £4 for under 16s. The matinee performance with a 2pm start is on Saturday, February 10th. Groups are welcome and to buy tickets call the box office on 01254 878530.