Jack and the Beanstalk reviews at the London Palladium ★★★★

Jack and the Beanstalk has opened at the London Palladium and reviews are coming in for the spectacular new Palladium panto.

The panto’s all-star cast includes comedy superstars Dawn French and Julian Clary alongside Palladium favourites Paul Zerdin, Nigel Havers and Gary Wilmot, singer and actress Alexandra Burke, Bridgerton star Louis Gaunt, actress Natalie McQueen, and actor and social media star Rob Madge.

Directed by Michael Harrison, Jack and the Beanstalk features set designs by Mark Walters and costume designs by Hugh Durrant, created especially for The London Palladium. Choreography is by Karen Bruce, with lighting designs by Ben Cracknell, sound designs by Gareth Owen and composition and orchestrations by Gary Hind.

Jack and the Beanstalk is now playing at London Palladium until 15 January 2023.

Check our reviews below including the Evening Standard and The Stage. More reviews to follow.

Book tickets to Jack and the Beanstalk at the London Palladium

Average Critics Rating

Jack and the Beanstalk reviews

The Evening Standard

"Uproarious panto packed with comic vulgarity"

"Julian Clary shines in this camp and corny show packed with star names"

"Panto regular Julian Clary dominates every scene he pops up in, as various incarnations of the Spirit of the Beans. The veteran comedian boasts a withering, waspish put down for every occasion and showstopping costumes designed by Hugh Durrant..."

"Clary is a tough act to follow but “budget Miriam Margolyes” Dawn French makes a good fist of Devonian Dame Trot. A fright-wigged Alexandra Burke channels Tina Turner and the Wicked Witch of the West as villainous Mrs Blunderbore, Gary Wilmot as Queen Nigella makes merry with some marvellous tongue twisters, self-mocking posho Nigel Havers as King Nigel of Old Compton in the Turn references our new monarch with lines about his “blasted pen” and ventriloquist Paul Zerdin delivers as milkman Silly Simon. Heroic Jack Trot is played by Louis Gaunt, Princess Jill by Natalie McQueen and the comic vulgarity level is kept high, or should that be low, by Rob Madge as wannabe musical star cow called Pat."

"No expense has been spared, with dancers, deafening bangs, flames shooting up and a lavish set design from Mark Walters."

Bruce Dessau, The Evening Standard
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The Stage

"Lavish taster menu of a pantomime"

"Spectacular, star-studded pantomime with a hit-and-miss line-up of traditional routines"

"Producer and director Michael Harrison really pulls out the stops to deliver a truly extravagant show."

"t is, without doubt, spectacular – from Walters’ shimmering set design to the vibrant ensemble bringing Karen Bruce’s wild choreography to life. Of course, we expect a giant: here we get three in the first five minutes, introduced by a strident Alexandra Burke as Mrs Blunderbore, who naturally can’t help but love those Bad Boys. We also expect a beanstalk, and Walters delivers it with tremendous showmanship."

"If there is a problem, then, it’s the material. Devised by Harrison and other company members, it is stretched far too thinly over such a cast of significant musical and comedy talent. Yet, it’s a lavish taster menu of a pantomime, for which Harrison has cooked up a variety of show-stopping dishes."

Paul Vale, The Stage
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The Times

"Camp innuendo, Dawn French and a singing cow"

"Dawn French having more fun as “juicy old Dame Trot” — the ever fertile mother of Jack (dashing, scissor-kicking, tight-trousered Louis Gaunt) — than she did as a baddie here four years ago!"

"The excess-all-areas approach can bludgeon as much as it amuses, though. It needs a sprinkling of fairy dust. Cue Clary, in the first of a series of outlandish yet gorgeous costumes..."

"Now and then the quality control slips: a crummy routine between Wilmot and French made up of suggestive song extracts, say. More often there is magic, not just mockery — best of all when Jack climbs the genuinely giant beanstalk that rises up from the stalls to the roof of the theatre. Such length. Such girth. Such pleasure."

Dominic Maxwell, The Times
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"Julian Clary remorselessly steals the show – again – as London’s biggest panto returns"

"For the love of god don't attempt to take an actual child to the Palladium panto! Theoretically, it's a lovely family entertainment. In reality, it's a smutty variety show manned by stars of a certain vintage, one which ditches plot in favour of endless knob gags fiercely administered by a remorselessly scene-stealing Julian Clary."

"Blue jokes, joyful dance numbers, gasp-worthy fireworks... Michael Harrison's production hits every possible panto mark except one, and that's actually making you feel something."

Alice Saville, TimeOut
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The Guardian

"No expense spared for giant all-star entertainment"

"Dawn French, Julian Clary and Alexandra Burke join an animatronic giant with a vast beanstalk in an innuendo-heavy, story-light show"

"Pantos are usually cheap and cheerful, so it’s disorientating to see millions of pounds (I’m guessing) thrown at one... Ah, but the jokes – they’re as cheap as ever. You may leave wishing for a better told fairytale. But if you’re here for Julian Clary’s sexual innuendoes – well, he’ll give you an absolute stuffing."

"Zerdin, who co-created the show, lacks warmth as simple Simon. But French and Clary have lots of sardonic fun and Havers is a great sport as everyone’s whipping boy. Money talks, finally, and so does the skill of old pros: light on giant-killing it may be, but this is giant entertainment."

Brian Logan, The Guardian
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The Telegraph

"This limp Jack and the Beanstalk proves the Palladium panto formula has grown stale"

"Even Julian Clary's smut has been dialled down, while meta jokes just highlight the lack of fresh material"

"Even the smut seems dialled down in this limp seventh outing – despite the very obviously priapic beanstalk that rises from the stalls into the gods at the end of the first act. (Sorry for the spoiler, but it's one of very few highlights, so it seems only fair to mention it.)"

"What’s different this time round is the open recognition of that formula. There’s a meta self-awareness throughout... Only Alexandra Burke rises to the occasion as a properly fabulous villainous Mrs Blunderbore."

Claire Allfree, The Telegraph
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Daily Mail

"This sauced-up panto is a right treat"

"... Jack And The Beanstalk, a triumph of smut and glamour — and that’s just Clary, decked out in fabulous costumes as various legumes and suggestive vegetables as The Spirit Of The Beans, delivering double entendres from Harrison’s sparkling script."

"The show oozes quality — and so it should at £150-plus for the most expensive seats — in Mark Walters’ design, Ben Cracknell’s lighting and costumes by Hugh Durrant, and runs at a lick under Harrison’s zippy direction."

"The script is more family-friendly than in previous years, but the adults won’t be disappointed at the abundance of good-natured filth."

Veronica Lee, Daily Mail
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📷 Main photo: Jack and the Beanstalk at the London Palladium - Julian Clary & Louis Gaunt. Photo by Paul Coltas

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