Circa One, Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki St, Waterfront, Wellington

19/11/2016 - 20/12/2016

Circa One, Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki St, Waterfront, Wellington

04/01/2017 - 14/01/2017

Production Details

Written by Roger Hall
Songs by Paul Jenden and Michael Nicholas Williams
Director: Susan Wilson

Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum – Great fun for everyone! 

JACK IS BACK! What better way to celebrate the holiday season than to mix fun and tradition with Roger Hall’s Jack and the Beanstalk. Join Jack as he takes us on a once upon a time … happily ever after tale of how he climbs the beanstalk to a wondrous land where there is a goose that lays golden eggs and – Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum – a Giant with a dangerous appetite! 

Susan Wilson, director and music maestro Michael Nicholas Williams collaborate again and explore exciting new worlds to create another musical and magical treat. With a timely and topical script by Roger Hall and a terrific cast headed by Gavin Rutherford, as everyone’s adored Dame, there will be lots of opportunity to boo the baddies and cheer the goodies and step right into the festive spirit. 

Circa’s first Panto opened in 2005 with Cinderella – with a script by Roger Hall and music by Michael Nicholas Williams (lyrics and costumes were by the late Paul Jenden) and Susan Wilson directing. And there’s been a panto every Christmas at Circa since then. Roger recalls that his parents in London took him to a panto when he was about six. At the end, he burst into tears … because it had finished. So he was hooked.  Jack and the Beanstalk is one of his favourites. He says that it has so much going for it. The lazy son, the spendthrift mother, a pantomime cow and a pantomime goose and, of course, the magic beans that eventually lead to them all going to Giantland and facing mortal danger. 

JACK AND THE BEANSTALK is the perfect end of the year family show to complete Circa’s 40th Birthday celebrations. 

“two hours of song and dance and assorted mayhem zips along” – Helen Sims, The Lumiere reader 

“… madcap spirit … a laugh a minute show ” Laurie Atkinson 

Circa Theatre
19th November – 20th December 2016
and 4 – 14 January 2017
Tues – Sat 6.30pm Sunday 4pm
Tickets $25 – $46 School Kids $15
BOOKINGS 801 7991  

Hilda Hardup, Aunty Pam   Gavin Rutherford
Jack   Barnaby Olson
Betsy, Goosey   Bronwyn Turei
Butcher Bob/Immigration Officer   Andrew Laing
Mrs Virus, Gertie Grabber   Emma Kinane
Claude Back/Postman   Jonathan Morgan
Smiley Virus   Jessica Old
Freedom Campers   The Cast
Giant   as himself

Set Design   Ian Harman
Lighting Design  Jennifer Lal
Musical Direction   Michael Nicholas Williams
Costume Design   Sheila Horton
Musical Staging  Leigh Evans

Stage Manager:  Eric Gardiner
Technical Operator:  Tony Black
Sound Operator:  Bonnie Judkins
Publicity:  Colleen McColl
Graphic Design:  Rose Miller, Kraftwork
Photography:  Stephen A’Court
Box Office:  Linda Wilson
House Manager:  Suzanne Blackburn  

Theatre , Family , Children’s , Pantomime ,

Jack offers ‘awesome’ pantomime

Review by Ewen Coleman 23rd Nov 2016

For the past 10 years, a Roger Hall pantomime has been standard fare for Circa Theatre’s end-of-year production.  

And while based on a very English form of entertainment, Hall makes them sufficiently topical to resonate with locals young and old.

And this year’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk is no exception and could well be considered to be up there with the best of them. [More


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Wellingtonians get the good laugh they need

Review by Jo Hodgson 21st Nov 2016

As my family and I settle into our seats for our first Circa panto all together, I chuckle delightedly as I hear a child behind us saying to his Dad, “I think Mr Maker made those”. This is in reference to Ian Harman’s set design which consists of four suspended fluffy clouds, a caravan facade with a ‘70s style quilted bedspread exterior and a patchwork back drop that my daughter thinks is like a sunrise to the sky.

In a nearby village which has recently changed its name to Lester-ville, we meet Jack (Barnaby Olsen), a dreamer and wanna-be poet in his rainbow unicorn t-shirt and dungarees singing about the wonders of the country sounds in the morning and his love for Smiley Virus (Jessica Old). This tranquil scene is interrupted by his mother, Hilda Hardup (Gavin Rutherford) giving a rather different picture in ‘Don’t Live in a Village’ where we discover she is (surprise surprise) “a poor widow woman”. Awwwww …

Cue the flow of topical jokes and the panto tradition of delivering the news of the time through the updating and ad-libbing of the script from town to town. Everything from local to international politics: the ever growing divide between rich and poor, mean-spirited landlords, several digs at large corporations, and parliamentarians are scoffed at, ridiculed and hung out to dry. It’s a music theatre mash up of the puppets in the back bencher and Tom Scott cartoons with the all-important repartee with the crowd.

So to the dilemma of how to get money to pay the rent to landlord Nora Virus (Emma Kinane) and the debt with Bob – “Can we kill it?” – the Butcher (Andrew Laing) so that the repo-man, a tragically comical mute clown (Jonathan Morgan), stops repossessing everything. This is where the udderly (ba dum tish) divine Betsy the Cow (Bronwyn Turei) is sold for magic beans which give access to Giant-land where the story wanders a little but in the end there is happiness a plenty – except perhaps for the Giant.

In true pantomime fashion this show relishes in the right amount of absurdity and innuendo that makes one laugh uproariously, occasionally squirm with discomfort and theatrically groan with the cliché of it all.

The basic folktale is padded out heavily with back story, through story, love interests and extra fantastical characters with much for the younger audience members to enjoy and stay hooked in with the story they know.

Paul Jenden’s clever song lyrics complement and at times overshadow Roger Hall’s script which sometimes has a dated feel to it, but after the week Wellingtonians have had, we’re certainly ready for a good laugh.

Musical director Michael Nicholas Williams is the one man band, sound effect machine, and composer and, as always, writes fun, stylistic accompaniments with leitmotifs for the knowing; I particularly love the sneaky Sweeney Todd reference. The singing is excellent and very strong right across the cast, with great vocal colour, and appropriate pastiche sound as needed.

Artistically lit by Jennifer Lal, costumed by Sheila Horton and choreographed by Leigh Evans, the camaraderie of the cast under the guidance of director Susan Wilson is evident throughout and all deliver fantastic performances with the right amount of milking (excuse the pun) the script.  

This production really is a fun family night out with something for all ages. Watching my young children cracking up at many jokes – some of which were luckily totally over their heads – is what live theatre is all about and of course the chance to leap up on stage for the pantomime whirl. 


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