MK Theatre prepares for the return of Christmas Panto with Jack and the Beanstalk

Theatre’s 2021 return means that Pantos are back in full swing this Christmas! At MK Theatre, the classic fairytale Jack and the Beanstalk will be on from the 11th of December to the 8th of January.

As Gina Murray, who plays the fairy Mother Nature says: “it’s the story of a boy who’s very poor and he suddenly ends up taking some beans for it and realises that these weren’t just regular beans, these were magic beans!”

She then continues to describe the role she’s playing, telling us that: “My character is also magic and she’s a fairy called Mother Nature, so she and the boys and girls are going to help jack on his quest, there’s a giant, there’s Diversity, what more could you pack into one show?”

It also wouldn’t be a Pantomime without a Dame – and luckily MK Theatre has a great one Jack Land Noble, who plays Dame Trott.

“The highlight for me is the fact that we’re back. And working with Diversity, who are just consummate professionals, but are just really really good people as well.” He says of the show.

“So it’s great being back with everyone and it’s like a panto family reunion, which is lovely. So that’s what I’m looking forward to most, sharing the stage with these immensely talented people.”

Diversity members Warren Russell, Mitchell Craske, Georgia Lewis and Starr Kiely also add onto this point, saying “It’s the best thing, because we’ve had literally a year and a half of doing nothing, being on Tiktok, but yeah to be back as a group, because even this year we’ve performed but not everyone’s been together because of the whole”

Gina continues to elaborate on this, as she says: “It’s not just the performance element and the performers, but it is a way for the audience to relax, to be entertained, to decompress, after what’s been a horrendous time for a lot of us, it’s actually a really essential part of life that we’ve missed out on and I don’t think that we are fully prepared for the emotional ride that that’s going to take us on, being back and how much we need it and miss it.”

We also chat with Diversity about the differences in Pantomime as a format. As Mitchell says: “It changes, even though the show is the same every night, depending on how the audience are, what jokes they laugh at, all that stuff it kind of veers in another direction, whereas normal theatre shows you just go on, perform, do that…”

Georgia also elaborates on that point, saying: “In Panto you can always count on someone saying a line that’s a bit different and everyone on stage is laughing and the crowd is laughing and loving it”

Moving on with the conversation, we’ve all had moments where we’d like to escape to somewhere new. But if any of the cast could climb up a magic beanstalk, where would they go?

Jack responds that he would be: “In the Republic of Ireland, with a pint of Guinness in my hand, watching the waves crash onto the shore. I’d also like to climb up and see a world where there’s no prejudice, there’s no hate, just everyone has love and respect for each other”

Gina meanwhile mentions Nashville, reflecting what a lot of us feel when she says: “I basically want to be Dolly Parton.” “So Nashville, Stetson, some jeans, some cowboy boots and a pick-up truck and probably some really great musicians, I think that would make me very happy.”

There are also a variety of responses from Diversity, ranging from the Maldives to mars, to finding a pot of gold.

Many of us have fond memories of going to Pantomimes as kids and this cast is no exception!

Jack specifically says: “My earliest theatrical memory was watching Pantomime when I was 3 or 4 years old and I was just captivated. It’s a very special medium and we’re very blessed to have it.”

Finally, Starr adds: “I think there’s some things you associate with Panto like ‘he’s behind you!’… I think when I have children in a very very long time, I’d go to panto absolutely, if I’m not in it I’ll be watching it.” For more information on the show, please go to: https://www.atgtickets.com/venues/milton-keynes-theatre/.

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