My First Panto – Jack And The Beansprout – Norwich!
This time last year we went with friends to see the ‘My First Panto’ at The Garage in Norwich and Raffie slept through pretty much the whole thing – which at just a few weeks old was to be expected! Jimmy loved it however and as he was at the top of the recommended age range I thought that was pretty good going. This year when I was invited to their 2018 offering, Jack and the Beansprout, I decided to take Raffie on his own. The big two get to go to the theatre on their own with me so I thought he deserved a .it of that too. Also, immersive theatre for children doesn’t make too much of an appearance in Norwich with the ‘My Firsts’ being the only kind I’ve found so I wanted it to be a special for just him and I.
We were spoiled in London clearly because we got to see lots of productions with similar values – non scary, audience involvement and sitting within the staging on cushions making it feel very homely, warm and welcoming – the Polka Theatre in London was one of my favourite places to visit for performances just like this but for little old Norwich we are lacking somewhat until the ‘My Firsts’ team come to town!
Jack and the Beansprout is wonderful! Simply delightful and beautifully performed and if of course, as I knew he would, Raffie had a brilliant time. I think it’s important to take children to the theatre but I do understand it can be daunting when they’re so tiny. They make noise, they want to move and they don’t quite understand that sitting quietly and concentrating is the thing to do. Here they don’t have to! In fact the audience (all ages including grown ups) are positively invited into the performance area which you are sat on cushions around. There are bubbles, balloons, a beanstalk and clouds to touch and the actors play instruments and sing their way through the story we know well but they lose a lot of the terror… There’s no blood mentioned I noticed yet they do allude to the giant being scary and potentially eating Jack – it wasn’t too much, it was just right in order to tell the tale and the bigger small children in the audience looked like they were having a grand time too!
I adore children’s theatre and this is one of the best! Great touches like the fact the children can chalk on the scenes around the edges and aesthically pleasing yet simple props with clever performances by the three actors who played all the instruments and sing as well as completely putting the young audience at ease from the off!
The recommended age is 2-5 although Jimmy at six would still very much have enjoyed this and I missed him being with us because I could just picture his face lighting up and obviously Raffie has only just turned one but he got much from this and I would take him again – in fact, I might!
Jack and the Beansprout is on at The Garage from Friday the 30th of November (we were at a press preview today) until the 5th of January with a running time of 50-60 minutes depending how much the audience wants to get involved.
Tickets: £12.50 Adult/ £7.50 Child, Under 1s go free. For bookings: 01603 598646 or see www.thegarage.org.uk.
We were invited to see the show as guests of the theatre.