The festive season wouldn’t be complete without an annual trip to the panto (oh no it wouldn’t!). Middlesbrough Theatre‘s 2022 production sees the classic tale of Jack and the Beanstalk brought to life by an energetic cast. We are Middlesbrough took some time out mid-week to sample some panto magic.
Located on The Avenue in leafy Linthorpe Village, Middlesbrough Theatre took us just a short 5 minute drive from the town centre. As we pulled up outside the venue, we were surprised to see the ample free parking spaces available on-site, something you very rarely have at other theatres across the region.
For pre or post-theatre dining and drinks, you are spoilt for choice in Linthorpe Village, where you can really make a night of it as a couple, group of friends or family at venues including Ollivello to The Copperstone. Visit our food and drink guide which details some of the best independent eateries and bars in the village.
Entering the theatre, we were welcomed by friendly front of house staff who guided us to the box office to pick up our pre-booked ticket (£23 for adults or £21.50 for children and there are deals on family tickets too). We then couldn’t resist picking up a sweet treat and drink from the downstairs kiosk which has plenty of staff on hand to serve theatre-goers.
Snacks at the ready, we made our way to our plush blue seat which was both cosy and comfortable.
Attracting a diverse range of people from all ages and backgrounds, the main auditorium started to buzz with people settling into their seats and singing along to the pre-show Christmas playlist. This 484-seat venue also provides wheelchair access and induction hearing loops are available to collect from the box office.
The Jack and the Beanstalk cast starting Mark Little, Philip Green and Terry Ashe.
Now for the big moment, curtains up! The live band struck up their first chords from the orchestra pit and an ensemble of lively dancers burst onto the stage.
One-by-one we were introduced to the production’s larger than life characters which includes Neighbours actor, Mark Little who has swapped Brisbane for the Boro to play the dastardly, Fleshcreep and provided plenty of moments to boo the villain.
Next up was Britain’s Got Talent’s Philip Green who is treading the boards as Silly Simon, the panto’s Buttons character who got the whole audience fully engaged with sing-a-longs, birthday shoutouts and plenty of laughs. His mum in the show, the darling, Dame Trott also wowed us with her dazzling costumes and cheeky sense of humour.
But it was Daisy; the panto cow who really caught our eye and managed to express so much emotion and pull on our heartstrings without saying a single word to the audience.
The first half of the show lasted approximately an hour before we took a wander in the interval to tuck into the classic theatre treat of a tub of ice cream. Despite it been busy, the bar staff quickly served everyone and we were swiftly back in our seats before the curtain rose for the second half.
From breath-taking special effects to a giant on-stage troll, the second half certainly didn’t disappoint and also included many references to TikTok dances (which made the We are Middlesbrough team feel old!) and popular memes – the writers and cast of this panto certainly know how to entertain their young audience.
But it’s not just gags for children and young people; from political japes to naughty innuendos, there are plenty of laughs throughout for adults to enjoy too! The cast also managed wangle in plenty of tongue-in-cheek Middlesbrough references, from enjoying a classic parmo to popping down to the Cleveland Centre, which were a hit with the audience.
Exiting the theatre, we felt in full festive mode, as Jack and the Beanstalk has all the essential panto ingredients to truly get you into the Christmas spirit!
Jack and the Beanstalk runs until Saturday 31 December at Middlesbrough Theatre. Tickets are available to book now via the Middlesbrough Theatre website.
We are words: Grace Lancaster