Jack & The Beanstalk
by Nancy McPherson published September 2011
Suitable for All Groups
A pantomime with a Scottish flavour. Nancy McPherson's new version of the classic tale has the perfect mix of fun characters and very funny dialogue. "A good, novel pantomime written with the family in mind, its full of fun and frivolity, jokes and silly nonsense, with a good smattering of visual comedy." - Amateur Stage Magazine, April 2012. Read John Hicks's full article below.
Jack Dumpling does his best to help his poor mother, Clootie Dumpling, and his hapless brother and sister, Pimple and Dimple Dumpling to make ends meet. He thinks his luck has changed when he falls in love with Jill, the Barons daughter. However the Baron has other plans. Aided by his two enforcers, Frankie Fakebake and Permatan Peem, the Baron issues an eviction order to the Dumplings and forbids Jill from seeing Jack. In dire straits, Jack sells the family cow, Cuddle, but is duped by Giant Guzzle's unscrupulous chefs, Butcher Bonecruncher and Basher the Tattiemasher. Jack ends up with only a bag of beans to show for his trouble. When Jill is captured and taken to Carcass Castle, the Giant's pad, Jack reaches rock bottom. The magic milkmaids, Hairy Hulk and Dairy Mulk, come to his rescue. Miraculously, a Giant beanstalk appears. Jack and his family go on a scary adventure to Carcass Castle and after a narrow escape, Jack slays the Giant, saves Jill and everything come up roses for the Dumpling family!
Players: 9 male 6 female
Cast: Jack Dumpling (Principal Boy), Jill Genteel-Bogle (Principal Girl),
Clootie Dumpling (Dame), Dimple Dumpling, Pimple Dumpling, Baron Boggin-Bogle, Permatan Peem & Frankie Fakebake, Dairy Mulk & Hairy Hulk, magic milkmaids, Butcher Bonecruncher & Basher the Tattiemasher, Facia Hoarse & Farquhar Snot (Posh Coalition Party), Cuddle (Clooties coo), and Guzzle The Giant
Sets: Various simple settings
Running Time: 2 hours
Download Sample Script: Jack & The Beanstalk
A good, novel pantomime written with the family in mind, it's full of fun and frivolity, jokes and silly nonsense, with a good smattering of visual comedy. The only problem I had is that while it would be absolutely excellent for audiences above the border, it would need many words and phrases changed just slightly so that the average English audience can understand what is being said even though it does say in the front of the script that it "...must be played as per the script, and without alterations..." I feel that for English audiences it would need to be altered slightly. Of course, with written permission from the publisher.
There are a good number of musical numbers with 'suggestions' written in, which can be very useful if one can't think of a song to suit any particular moment in the play, although one isn't bound to use the suggested songs. There is plenty of opportunity to put in references to local events and places which is always good in a pantomime script and lots of audience participation, also a very important part of the whole evening's entertainment.
The characters are fun and there are plenty of them. The main characters have been written in such a way that each one of them will engender good rapport and feeling with the audience. I am sure English actors will love the characters once they have come to terms with the dialogue and what means. Cuddle, 'the Coo' is a very good character for a pair of actors and as long as they learn the part thoroughly and are directed well, it will be the star of the show. The same goes for the Dame, 'Clootie Dumpling', a typical panto dame with equal measures of warmth, love, feistiness and fun. The Baddie, Baron Boggin Bogle is sufficiently bad to get the audience worked up into a frenzy of fear and fright and with the cacophony of boos and hisses I can almost hear already I am sure mayhem will ensue.
The two Bouncers, Permatan Pete and Frankie Fakebake are two good characters in the traditional mould of the two nasty twits, and nasty twits they are too. The two posh folk, Facia Hoarse and Farquhar Snot make a nice change to the very broad Scottish accents that are required for the other characters.
The characters fit together well and the pace is kept up throughout the script; there appears to be no weak spots, so with good direction and positive dedication by the cast, a very good pantomime could be brought to life. I am certain I would enjoy watching this panto.
John Hicks, AS Magazine