British Pantomime 101 part five: ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’

Metro Theatre’s tall tale promises giant laughs

By Clive Ramroop, Contributor

This final instalment of the “Panto in Vancouver” series will be in a more standard format instead of the Q-and-A style in past articles due to difficulties in contacting those involved with the production. In any case, Metro Theatre will continue its 2013-14 season—the 51st season of the theatre’s existence—with its pantomime stage production of Jack and the Beanstalk.

In classic pantomime tradition, Jack and the Beanstalk will feature the usual conventions that just about every panto must follow: a children’s story given a musical comedy spin, with outside forces of good and evil struggling to gain control of the plot. The audience cheers and boos the action as the silliness of the story, the song and dance numbers, and intentionally corny jokes and pop culture references all spill and spiral into zany, frantic, magical mayhem.

Written and directed by long-time Metro Theatre member Johnny Duncan, the plot will remain at its core the same story as the original tale, with our young hero Jack being forced to sell the family cow named Daisy—the panto animal is another tradition in the genre—at the behest of his mother. But in this version of the story, Jack’s mother is the panto dame, known as Dame Trot (played by Roger Kettyls), a.k.a. “Trotty” to her friends.

Influencing the direction of the story will be a Good Fairy and the evil Demon Distastely, the latter played by Trent Gluckler. Distastely has backup in the form of a henchman: a mini-Demon in training.

There will also be a Princess Melody who needs to be rescued, and her father, the King, who is aided by a pair of bungling guards named Harem and Scarum.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Jack and the Beanstalk without a giant. Metro Theatre promises to deliver on what it calls a “GIANT Giant Eyesore who constantly terrorizes the village” where Jack lives. But the theatre is pretty mum on hinting at who or what this “Giant Eyesore” will be, and justifiably so… why drop a big spoiler, when it is far more fun to bring a posse along for the ride to find out?

Jack and the Beanstalk will run from December 13 to January 4 at the Metro Theatre. Showtimes are 7 p.m. on Thursdays through Saturdays, plus 2 p.m. matinees on weekends and holidays. For ticket information, contact the Metro Theatre box office at 604-266-7191. For more information, go to