BL Reviews.. Jack & The beanstalk at The Macron Stadium



Friday night saw me and three of my kids head down to The Premier suite at the Macron stadium for the launch of Fame Factory Spotlight`s Jack & The Beanstalk.

The Macron`s premier suite has been transformed into an 1000 seat theatre complete with popcorn and hot dog stands for 38 shows during this month and January.

The Jack & The beanstalk script has been bought bang upto date with 2015
and with its fast pace and some really well written topical gags there
really is something for everyone and we mean everyone!

Even though the script has been highly modernised there are still the
traditions and there are still the golden elements of the panto genre that make it true  family fun.

graham-hawleyGraham Hawley, Who is best known for playing John Stape in Coronation Street. (Husband of Fiz, kidnapper of Rosie Webster and also serial killer) Plays villain Baron Von Tightwad-His take on the role of The Baron was one of the highlights of the show and by the end the children really got behind the notion of him being the bad guy. His singing level was really surprising and totally unexpected with his voice still maintaining the essence of the bad guy through the song.

chelsea-halfpennyChelsea Halfpenny takes on the role of Cabbage The Fairy. Chelsea is best known for her character in Emmerdale- Amy Wyatt. Chelsea is also in the new series of Casualty playing new staff member Alicia
Munroe, which Hit the screens in September.

Chelsea`s take on the role of Cabbage the fairy was amazing. The kids responded really well to her character and her performance was flawless. Her physical movement skills and stage awareness were great and she had some well timed one liners. Her singing voice is confident belting out such tunes as uptown funk. She brought a big smile to a  lot of childrens faces

tam-ryanPlaying the role of Silly Billy is comedian Tam Ryan,
Tam is an established comedian who has performed alongside an impressive repertoire of stars such as David Hasselhoff, Warwick Davis, Pricilla Presley and more.

Tam`s performance was full of perfectly timed one liners, some great physical comedy moments and some all round hilarious points. His audience interaction skills were second to none and he dealt perfectly  with the kids. There were some great “in” jokes between Tam and the adult members of the audience and we even heard most of Gangnam Style in Korean!

rochelle-ayrisPlaying the title role of hero Jack is Rochelle Ayris.
Rochelle has been performing since the age of 3, and first played a principle role in panto 15 years ago at the Plowright Theatre.
Rochelle has appeared in many episodes of Hollyoaks, Coronation Street and Emmerdale and was lead vocalist on the charity single ‘We’re in the
mood’ by the ‘Cancer Fighters’

Rochelle`s interpretation of Jack had the assembled audience really responding to her. Her audience interaction was really good as was her physical theatre skills. She has an amazing voice ( she has worked all over europe in tribute acts after starting out at Pontins)
Her interaction with the rest of the cast was perfectly timed as was
her dancing and plenty of references to old school Panto`s. A faultless performance.

carrie-louise-hobsonPlaying Princess Jill, after winning the ‘Search for a Star’ competition is Carrie Louise Hobson.

Carrie has recently graduated from the Blackpool School of Arts with a degree in Musical Theatre. She had the privilege of playing the principle role of Sukie in the musical the Witches of Eastwick as well as other featured ensemble roles in other productions.

Her performance as Princess Jill was confident , funny and touching at some points. Her Physical and vocal theatre skills are technically brilliant and she is 100% a person to watch in the theatre world in the coming years. Her performance was perfectly timed and her interaction with the children was spot on.

patton-brothersThe Hilarious Patton Brothers are also starring in this their 57th panto. Brian Patton playing the Baron`s dim witted assistant Mirfin and Jimmy Patton playing Dame Dolly Dumpling.
Brian and Jimmys experience shows in this panto and had the children in hysterics and their audience participation skills were great.
Their physical theatre skills really shined throughout and the audience simply loved them. Their slapstick comedy routines were perfectly timed and so were the jokes.

dawn-dawsonThe whole energy of the show was heightened with the apple-danceaddition of  dancers from Apple Dance and Dawn Dawsons academy of dance and stage.
Their brilliant dance routines and acrobatics and the energy they put into every dance segement really added to the show and every        single one of them should be proud .

The addition of Live music throughout also helped to heighten the excitement and created a great atmosphere and served to emphsise the dramatic moments

LoftyAs it is at the Macron you could not mention this panto without mentioning everyones favourite Lion,  Lofty , who makes a couple of appearances during the show. The Bolton wanderers community trust is celebrating 30 years of operation and lofty is a key part of the plot ….

The costumes of Pat the cow and the giant were really very good and the very simple set really set off the performance .

All in all our BL verdict is get on down to the Macron between now and January for this rip roaring family treat!

My Kids Loved it and so did i!

Pete Hopkinson


Jack & The beanstalk runs until 3rd January 2016 at The Pemier Suite , Macron Stadium

Tickets are priced from £12 concessions, £15 adults, £48 for a family
of four and £9 for groups over 30. Special rates for schools are
available so contact the ticket hotline direct on 0844 871 2932. To
book tickets online, visit

And for more information on the panto visit

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