THE classic family pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk opened in dramatic style, with puffs of smoke, bangs and dazzling light effects. 

Performed by the Highcliffe Charity Players it was a magical performance, oh yes, it was!

The FIT fairy (fairy in training) played by Amber Sutton helps guide the story of how a poor county boy Jack (Stanley Smith) trades Daisy the family cow for a handful of magic beans with some help from his silly sister Sally (Chloe-Louisa Hughes).

The beans grow into an enormous beanstalk reaching up to the clouds, Jack climbs the beanstalk to find himself in a castle full of riches.  Unfortunately, there is also an unfriendly giant, a scary experience for Jack when he wants him as a snack.

"Fee-fi-fo-fum he smelt the blood of an Englishman!"

As soon as Jack's mum Dame Trott (Stuart Tizzard) steps onstage he had the audience laughing, good humour for the children and plenty to keep the adults amused.

There was nothing to fault; a great performance from all the cast, costumes sparkled, the dancing flowed, even the ballet dancing was en pointe. 

The children loved the audience participation and not forgetting a cheeking little floss dance from Silly Sally. 

All good shows have a little romance thrown in too, so it was great that Jill (Sophie Kerslake) married the handsome Jack, giving us all a fabulous happy ending.

The band played some fantastic music that kept my foot tapping throughout the scenes, Nick Cave, Reach, Mustang Sally and Ghostbusters to name but a few. 

The opening show was packed out, the atmosphere was tense with excitement and you never knew what was going to happen next, I jumped out of my seat on one occasion. 

If you want a good old-fashioned family fun day, don’t miss out.

Jack and the Beanstalk is running at the Regent Centre until January 25. Tel 01202 499199

Donna Garner