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REVIEW: Cave Players' Jack and the Beanstalk

Beware the Cream Whipper 3000 as Hazel Nutt banked on the machine to save the dairy and it failed to do so.

Such was the fun of the Cave Players’ 33rd pantomime, filling the North Cave Village Hall with plenty of laughter on a chilly January night. It seems surprising in the group’s history that Jack and the Beanstalk hadn’t been tackled since 1997. This year, it was the task of new scriptwriter Rob Adamson, ably assisted by director Sharon Wood, to come up with a new version.

They also hit good fortune with the arrival at auditions of Andrea Russell, once a child in the chorus line at the age of nine, who secured the Principal Boy role and did it so well.

The storyline goes that the Giant wants more rent from the humble citizens of Tingley Bottom – where else? Cave Players’ dame, Hazel Nutt, played yet again by Neil Harker, has to find ways of raising the money but with only one cow left in her herd, the dairy will struggle. Her son Jack wants Squire Cheapskate’s daughter Jill’s hand in marriage but has to rescue her from the Giant’s kingdom following the kidnapping by the token baddie, The Dreaded Lurgi.

What is so special about am-dram is that the people on stage want to do it and give so much time to entertaining the public and it remains popular in East Riding village communities. Such was the case with the Cave Players.

I still snigger at the moment when Hazel screamed the lines of “Can’t live if living is without you”, in an emotional encounter with Cow Pat ahead of its sale to the Lurgi for the beans that created the beanstalk. Easy!

It had all the staples: a sing-a-long, great costumes, familiar songs - starting with It's a Pantomime, as if to confirm the event - and a handful of sweets thrown into the audience by Hazel - bad shot!

The panto raised money for Health Stars, an East Yorkshire-based charity. These were funds generated through laughter, groaning and a plot, apparently!

They are back with the Darker Side of the Moon on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th May at North Cave Village Hall.

Tony Barker

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