Jack and the Beanstalk

Court One, Christchurch

18/01/2010 - 30/01/2010

Production Details


Young Jack Robinson discovers a giant world of adventure in The Court Theatre’s latest kids show, JACK AND THE BEANSTALK.

Playwright Brendon Bennetts has created a “playful and adventurous” adaptation of the beloved children’s tale, which director Jon Pheloung describes as “fast-paced and lots of fun”. JACK AND THE BEANSTALK incorporates magic tricks and puppetry into the performance to tell the story in an exciting new way.

Javier Jarquin plays Jack, a young boy with “more enthusiasm than common sense” who trades the family cow for some magic beans, much to the chagrin of his mother (Kathleen Burns). When an enormous beanstalk grows the next day, Jack climbs up to find a land ruled by the dim-witted giant Blunderbore (Dan Bain).

Venue: Court One, The Court Theatre
Dates:  Monday 18 January – Saturday 30 January
Performances: Mon-Fri 11am & 1pm, Saturday 11am only (no shows Sundays)
Tickets: All tickets $8.
Bookings: The Court Theatre Box Office, 963 0870 or online at www.courttheatre.org.nz 

Daniel Bain, Kathleen Burns and Javier Jarquin

Set design and construction: Richard van den Berg
Sound design: Geoff Nunn
Music: Kris Finnerty
Costume design: Emily Thomas
Properties: Nicki Evans, Helen Beswick
Lighting design: Brendan Albrey
Operator: Geoff Nunn
Stage Manager: Charlotte Thompson

Exuberant, delightful, versatile cast

Review by Lindsay Clark 19th Jan 2010

Time again for the frankest audience of all to test the ability of their theatre elders to engage  them in the special delight of staged story telling. On that score, this production would have to be rated a neatly crafted success, sharpening up the old story with bright characters and providing a suitably collaborative ending, so that Jack’s hastily appropriated treasure serves everyone, including the grisly giant with the lust for bones.

The Court team, under the inventive direction of Jon Pheloung, manage with three energetic actors, a simple picture book set and a few lighting effects to sustain audience imagination and gleeful participation for the whole piece. The key to success lies in the bold use of puppetry to drive the story through tricky action such as scaling the beanstalk, as well as the shrewd writing which picks up on lines and situations children know very well. (Big people read newspapers and don’t care for cartoons. Even when you try to do right, things go wrong. Tickling is a very useful weapon. And “Who did that?”) 

He’s a lively lad this Jack and the cow that must be sold to finance Mother Robinson’s bakery dream is an instant success as a quick thinking mime. Together with a colourful ogre they present very appealing characters bowling along at a merry pace. The moment everyone waits for, the revealing of the magic beanstalk adds to the fun with a fresh take on the extraordinary vegetable.

As Jack, Javier Jarquin establishes an easy rapport with his audience, filling the role with exuberant physicality.

Dan Bain is a delightfully lanky cow whose gender is a cause for cheerful speculation as his wonderful pink udder is considered alongside the fuzz of beard at the other end. His giant has a wonderful way with the “Fee fi fo fum” lark but is always more entertaining than scary. No frightened whimpers from this audience.

Completing the cast is the versatile Kathleen Burns (Mother and ideas person, sharp salesman and beanstalk persona).

Best of all is the clear enjoyment they bring to the story and their matter of fact treatment of bold moves and staging as if the imagination of their audience could be trusted to follow. As of course it does.
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