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Jack and the Beanstalk: Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne

The final curtain on Eastbourne’s Jack and the Beanstalk fell on Sunday night (12 January) to the rapturous applause of a totally sold out audience and a night of pantomime merriment and mayhem ended for another year after a 5 week season which saw well over 33,000 people attend the show.

The final night’s performance of pantomime has become well known locally for the pranks that are played on the cast and it’s all organised by pantomime director and writer Chris Jordan. The deliberately chaotic final night is a show unlike the rest in the run; with surprise guests, mix-ups and gags-a-plenty played on the unsuspecting cast who haven’t performed in Eastbourne before, but Eastbourne panto stalwarts including Martyn Knight and Tucker are now all too aware of what chaos the final night can bring!

This year’s final night featured a wide range of unexpected encounters including a bit of animal magic with the arrival of a Nanna the dog from Peter Pan rather than Clarabelle the Cow – which resulted in a show down, and a goose of GIANT proportions. Whilst on the subject of proportions there was a not so giant Giant and a very large, and messy, surprise for panto Dame Martyn Knight in the mucky milkshake scene!

The first half of the show saw Katherine Glover have to share the magic beans as an extra ‘Jack’ arrived in the form of Lisa Mathieson – who has previously performed as Aladdin in a Devonshire Park pantomime – and the second half saw a third Jack enter the fray as Rebecca Lisewski also donned the thigh high boots and green tunic! Rebecca has also performed in Eastbourne panto before in Peter Pan.

Panto Fleshcreep Steven Serlin was reunited with Lara Denning; they performed together previously at Theatre Royal Drury Lane in the musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Directed by Sam Mendes, for this meeting however Lara donned a panto fairy outfit and belted out a rendition of Don’t Rain on my Parade! But the performance which really bought the house down was comic Tucker’s version of Cry me a River wowing the audience – many who didn’t know he could actually sing!

Ensemble dancer Bradley Trevethan got the chance to perform an Ed Sheeran track, after enduring weeks of being likened to the singer onstage. The finale was brought in early to surprise Tucker half way through the second act and the Giant definitely went off script in the castle scenes which foxed the cast!

Sleeping Beauty is the pantomime for 2020/21 (11 December to Sunday 17 January) tickets are already selling fast for this traditional family pantomime, with the final night close to selling out! To book call the box office on 01323 412000 or online eastbournetheatres.co.uk