Monday, January 22, 2007

Coping With Withdrawal #2

Still suffering from those Torchwood blues? Don't know how to keep your mind occupied until the DVD boxset hits our shelves later in the year? Or until Torchwood returns for its action packed second season next October? Then look no further, as Torchwood.TV attempts to solve your Torchwood withdrawal problems (guarenteed).

This January if you feel like your missing out on John Barrowman goodness why not head on down to the New Theatre in Cardiff and see the star in a panto version of "Jack and the Beanstalk". Below is a review of the show by writer, Peter Pan:

Jack and the Beanstalk ... Starring John Barrowman as Jack, New Theatre, Cardiff, Saturday 20 January

As its my local panto, and featuring our fave Captain (aside from our resident Capt Jack of course!), I thought it would be very remiss of me to not attend. So here goes.

It's a great traditional family panto in every sense of the word. A man playing the Dame, ad libbing a-plenty, a chorus of juveniles to dance and mime along to the big musical numbers and enough audience participation to put The Rocky Horror Show to shame. And quite possibly the greatest panto you will ever see (and believe me, my years working in theatre meant I saw a lot!)

The story, in case you have fallen through the Cardiff rift and don't know, centres on Jack whose family are poor and have to sell the family cow. Sadly, Jack sells her for beans instead of cash and his mother throws the beans out of the window. Being magic beans, they grow overnight into a huge beanstalk that leads to cloud land where an evil giant resides. Being panto, they add in a Princess in danger, an evil henchman called Fleshcreep and a sub plot about the giant ruling over the kingdom.

John Barrowman is a gem. We all know he can sing, dance and act but he genuinely has that rare star quality about him that keeps you transfixed whenever he is onstage. Sadly, the audience weren't as professional as I about panto it usually took me to get the cheers, boos and hisses going and at one point when John outright asked us what had happened to the Princess, the reply of 'Fleshcreep took her' came from me alone. This of course meant that John heard my voice! He even replied! You can imagine how excited I was by that! Then later, as they approached the giants lair and silence ruled, I forgot it was a family show and bellowed out 'show us your captain, jack' at which I got a very reproachful look from JB....oops.

The show was littered with Who references.... Jack has apparently been away at "the doctors", he then brings back Dalek and Captain Jack figures as gifts for his family, when he arrives near the end of the show, while the others have all had an adventure on a golf buggy (including a projected trip around Cardiff and a stop off at Boots for Dame Trot!!) Jack arrives offstage to the sound of the TARDIS. At one point even John got carried away with his ad libs and got a bit saucy and had to remind himself 'Not Torchwood audience... Think Doctor Who, think Doctor Who' which raised a huge laugh. There were several moments where the cast got so involved in the gags and ad libs, they would start a scene again or have to stop as they were laughing so much but it made it all the better for us and was great to see them having such a good time too.

Its still on this week but ends Saturday. If you can get there, please please do! Signed Captain Jack figures are on sale in the foyer for £10 (yes, I got one!) as well as a few other bits of Who merchandise (but not Torchwood sadly, this is a family panto after all).

We did nip to stage door after the show to try and catch the man himself but the crowd was easily 100 strong, so we decided it was too cold to hang about as we had an 8 year old with us (not mine I hasten to add). I am going to nip back during the week and get there before the show ends and be first in the queue!!!

What are you waiting for? End those Torchwood blues now!
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