Jack and the Beanstalk

He's Behind YouWhen Jack swaps Daisy the Cow for some magic beans, they grow into an enormous magic beanstalk.

Can Jack climb the beanstalk, save the lovely Princess Melody from the giant and escape with all his arms and legs?

Come along and follow Jack up the beanstalk to find out! Join us for Jack and the Beanstalk a show filled with, songs, laughter, excitement and more than a little bit of festive magic.

Written by: Jonathan Harvey
Songs by: Stiles & Drewe

About The Show

George and Anthony have wanted to write an original pantomime since seeing one as students, 20 years ago.  It’s a double dream-come-true for them to be working with Jonathan Harvey, who has written this brand new version of Jack and the Beanstalk.

George as Dame Dolly

This is definitely not ‘posh panto’, It celebrates all that is best about the medium, and hopes to send the audience home singing some of the ten new songs which we like to describe as ‘really very silly’!. 

Not Posh PantoIt’s a chance to let our hair down, so we’ve plundered wildly – we range from the Disney-esque ‘A Bog Standard Opener’, through a Madness-inspired trio ‘Raise The Moola!’ to the Act 1 closer, ‘Climb It’, which sees Fairy Liquid leading an inspirational gospel number as Jack shins up the giant runner-bean. 

As we said, it’s really VERY silly… did we mention the club anthem in Act 2?!


About Jonathan Harvey

Jonathan HarveyJonathan is an award-winning writer for theatre, television and film. He has written 16 plays including Babies (Royal Court) and Guiding Star (National Theatre).

He is best known for his multi-award winning play and subsequent film, Beautiful Thing and the BBC1 BAFTA nominated sitcom Gimme Gimme Gimme.

Jonathan is part of the writing team for Coronation Street and is currently writing Starstruck a movie about 10 contestants in a TV singing contest, produced by Simon Cowell.

The Story of Jack and the Beanstalk

Dame Dolly DeluxeJack was a poor boy who lived with his mother and their cow. They became so poor that they needed to sell the cow to buy food. Jack met a stranger who gave him five magic beans for the animal.

His mother was furious, and threw the beans out of the window. Overnight, a huge beanstalk grew in their garden.

When Jack climbed it, he found a giant’s castle. He stole gold pieces, a goose that laid golden eggs and a magic harp. The harp shouted that it was being stolen and the giant chased Jack down the beanstalk, wanting to eat him; Jack chopped it down, killing the giant.

Jack's BeanstalkBut why tell the story in words, when you can rhyme it?

Jack and his family were very poor,
And Jack said, "This can be no more!
Can we sell our tired old cow?
Keep her and we'll starve right now!"

And do Daisy the cow was sold,
Not for jewels or money or gold,
Daisy got sold for magic beans.

That formed a beanstalk lean and man,
Housing a giant who had some horrible habbits
Eating humans and little rabbits.

Princess MelodyBy the giant's side the Princess had to stay,
Each evening she would plead and pray,
A handsome man would come her way.
Now Jack was in love with the Princess,
So decided to get her out this mess,
To climb the enormous vegetation,
And rescue her from the situation,
Luckily the rescue was easy to master,
Keeping them alive, to live happily, every after.

The Characters of our Story

Jack and the Beanstalk is a Christmas show for all the family packed with fun and fabulous characters!

Jack – the hero and principal boy, played by a woman dressed as a man
Idle Jack

Our thigh slapping, good hearted and horticultural hero. Some people would say that Jack’s a bit lazy – hence his nickname ‘Idle Jack’ – but Jack would say he just hasn’t found his purpose in life yet. He dreams of marrying the beautiful Princess Melody. Can he rescue her from the beanstalk and win her hand in marriage?

‘No beanstalk too small, no giant too tall.’

Sleeping, dreaming, rock climbing.

Favourite Pantomime
Jack and the Beanstalk of course!

Princess Melody – Jack’s romantic interest
Princess Melody

The Princess of the land gorgeous, famous and fabulous she is loved by every man who sets eyes on her. But she’s lonely, sometimes it’s a bit rubbish being a Princess, especially when you are kidnapped by a horrible smelly giant and put right at the top of a huge beanstalk!

‘It’s so difficult being beautiful and rich.’

Singing, playing the harp, posing.

Favourite Pantomime
Snow White – she hopes she will get rescued by a handsome Prince just like Snow White!

Daisy the Cow – the pantomime animal, played by two actors in a costume
Daisy the Cow

Dolly and Jack’s cow has stopped producing milk because they’ve run out of money to feed her. She might look big now, but a couple more weeks of no eating and she’ll start to look like Posh Spice!


Tap dancing, moo-n walking and eating moo-seli

Favourite Pantomime
Puss in Boots – Puss is a friend of hers and she likes the moo-sic!

Dame Dolly Deluxe – Jack’s mother, the pantomime dame, played by a man in drag.
Dame Dolly Deluxe

Jack’s Mum and dairy owner with a big mouth and bad dress sense. Dolly’s precious cow Daisy has stopped producing milk, times are hard and she dreams of the day a handsome man will sweep her off her feet.

‘With the lights off, I’m the double of Kate Moss’

Fashion design, modelling, making cheese.

Favourite Pantomime
Aladdin – he’s just so handsome!

Fairy Liquid – the fairy godmother, who makes sure that good triumphs over evil
Fairy Liquid

The fairy who helps the story along with a little magic and mayhem. She’s been taking her Fairy Exams and discovers that although she is very good at spells, she still can’t speak in rhyme! She is scientific, a bit geeky and of course, magically green fingered!

‘The only thing that lets me down is my rhyming’s rather…pants.’

Gardening, washing up, baking fairy cakes.

Favourite Pantomime
Cinderella – the fairy godmother is her idol.

Beastly Boris – the villain’s henchman, usually greeted with loud boos

The giant of the beanstalk's right hand man, who is sent down to earth to collect taxes. Stingier than Scrooge, meaner than Cinderella’s wicked stepmother and uglier than a Baboon’s bottom, you wouldn’t want to bump into him alone on a dark evening!

I smell children!

Counting cash, hating Christmas, being mean, wearing black.

Favourite Pantomime
He hates pantomimes because good always overcomes evil!

The History of the Story of Jack and the Beanstalk

I Smell ChildrenJack and the Beanstalk is based on the fairy story of Jack the Giant Killer, a Cornishman who rid Wales of giants.

In 1773, David Garrick produced the first play based on the story at Drury Lane.

In 1819 the first pantomime of the story was produced in a show which also had the first recorded principal boy.

The giant’s traditional cry of “fee, fi, foe, fum” dates back at least as far as 1605.

Jack and the Beanstalk - The story in cultures around the world.

Bog StandardThe idea of a ladder to another world, like the Beanstalk in Jack and the Beanstalk, can be found in the Old Testament, with the Tower of Babel and Jacob’s ladder.

The beanstalk can be liken to trees in Ancient Norse myths, which had Yggdrasil, the tree which bound the universe together, whilst Buddhist legend has a giant bodhi tree.

The Lozi and Ashanti cultures of Africa tell stories of structures built up to the sky to pursue wicked deities.

Giants like the one in Jack and the Beanstalk, are present in stories worldwide, from the Titans of Ancient Greece, to the Daitya of Hindu myth.

The Chinese told stories of giants, who ate humans and lived for 18,000 years.

Jack and the Beanstalk - Pantomime: an introduction

Dame DollyA pantomime is a comic play, based on a fairy tale, which combines song, dance, comedy and cross-dressing to entertain families at Christmas. It is a predominantly English tradition, and combines aspects of drama which date back many centuries.

Christmas plays have been traditional in England since at least the Middle Ages. Whole towns would participate in putting on outdoor productions which dramatised biblical stories. There was a recognisable cast of characters (the shepherds were usually comic) and audiences were encouraged to join in. Heaven was on the right of the stage and hell was on the left; this is a tradition still used today in pantomime, with the good fairy entering from the right, and the villain from the left.

He's Behind YouThe word ‘pantomime’ comes from Ancient Greek, roughly translated as “all imitation.” Ancient Greek plays, like pantomime, had singing and dancing, and told stories with a strong moral.

Pantomime has also been influenced by the late Middle Ages traidion commedia dell’ arte which evolved in Italy. A travelling troupe of performers would combine skills in different genres, from acrobatics to music, to tell stories. Their influence can be seen in Pantomime of today and Renaissance drama, where every play ended with a dance, and evolved into Stuart masques which relied on stylised costumes and elaborate scenery to tell a moral story. In 1717, Harlequin was introduced from French drama to become a stock character in much English drama of the time.

Dame DollyIn pantomime there is a lot of cross -dressing and playing cross gender. Cross-dressing dates back to the very earliest theatre in Ancient Greece. In England it was only in 1660 that women were allowed on stage. Men still played grotesque or older roles that women were unwilling to play. Women also wanted to adjust the balance by playing male roles, something audiences were only too happy to see in times when women were not usually allowed to display anything of their figures between the waist and the ankle.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the adaptation of fairy tales became common. By the beginning of the twentieth century, elements of the declining traditions of music hall and vaudeville had been combined to provide a spectacle which drew on other art forms, and often referred to current events or culture.

In pantomime audience participation is always allowed and activly encouraged: traditional cries of “He’s behind you!” “Oh yes, he is!” “Oh no he isn’t” and loud boos will be encouraged, along with joining in some of the songs, and getting some children up on the stage.

Production History

Jack and the Beanstalk ran at the London's Barbican Theatre as London’s Family Panto from 1 Dec 2007 to 12 Jan 2008.

Pantomime Facts and Figures

Worst panto joke
Why are pirates called pirates? Because they arrr...

Daisy the cowMost popular panto
The most popular titles are now Peter Pan and Cinderella, while titles such as Goody Two Shoes and Puss In Boots are hardly performed.

Origins of Panto
These date back to the Middle Ages and to Italian commedia dell'arte.

First panto in Britain
On 22 December 1716, Lincoln's Inn Theatre, London put on Harlequin Sorcerer. It was the first in a series to be staged by the actor-manager John Rich.

First performances
In 1773 the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane presented Jack the Giant Killer. The first Cinderella stage production was at Drury Lane in 1804, but the first recognisable story-led version came later to Covent Garden in 1820 as an Easter pantomime. Buttons and the Ugly Sisters appeared in 1860.

Dame DollyEarly panto favourite
Harlequin was a central feature of pantomime up to the 20th century.

Most surprising panto
For its first pantomime in its 25-year existence, in 2006 London's Barbican Theatre commissioned the controversial author Mark Ravenhill to write Dick Whittington & His Cat. The result exceeded all expectations, achieving a box-office income of £500,000 and an audience of more than 36,000.

Best Dame
Sir Ian McKellen raised eyebrows when he played Widow Twankey in the Old Vic's production of Aladdin. The performance was hailed one of the most compelling theatrical experiences of the year. The production broke the theatre's box-office record.

Fairy LiquidPanto disaster
In the 2004 Jack and the Beanstalk at the Pavilion Theatre in Glasgow, the 4ft 5in Janette Tough, playing the schoolboy Wee Jimmy Krankie , was badly injured when her 10ft beanstalk collapsed.

Most profitable panto
Birmingham Hippodrome has boasted the most prestigious panto for more than 30 years. In 2008 Aladdin grossed more than £1,750,000 in five weeks. It stared John Barrowman, the TV comedian Don Maclean, The Grumbleweeds, Masashi Fujimoto, Lila McConigley, Pete Gallagher, Daleks, and a 3D genie.

Most advanced effect
A 3D genie debuted in Bradford's Aladdin in 2006 – the audience wore special glasses. It cost £140,000 to develop and £40,000 to £50,000 per run.

Fairy LiquidMost unlikely stars
George Takei, Mr Sulu from Star Trek, was a genie in Aladdin in Reading in 1987. When he shouted "yoo-hoo", the audience responded " yoo-hoo Sulu". In 2005 Nadia Almada from Big Brother was an unlikely mermaid in a version of Peter Pan at Southampton's Mayflower Theatre.

No leg to stand on
In Lincoln in 2006 the normally one-legged Long John Silver appeared with two legs. The audience voted with their feet.


Tutankhamun Just So Honk Peter Pan Mary Poppins Jack and the Beanstalk Soho Cinders A Private Function Soap Dish Other Projects Moll Flanders Tom Jones The Three Musketeers The Card A Twist Of Fate
Back to top