By Betsy Everett
Fast earning itself a reputation as a giant in festive entertainment, the Wensleydale Music and Theatre Group’s annual panto is set to grow and grow in more ways than one this year.
Preparations started in the spring for the fantastically-costumed Jack and the Beanstalk, with school children invited to sow and nurture their very own giant bean for the annual extravaganza which starts on Wednesday.
The winners will be announced each night of the show, which this year has a record chorus line, with 17 children aged seven to 11, and a supporting cast of local talent drawn from all over the upper dale.
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It tells the story of hero Jack, his long lost love, Jill, loving mother Betty Bitsnbobs, and resourceful brother SillySimon. It also features the traditional pantomime villain, mean and greedy Squire Root, as well as a singing harp, Daisy the Cow, the giant, his wife and the giant beanstalk.
For long-time cast member Nicole Sunter, 17, who takes the lead as Jack, it may be the last production before she starts a course in midwifery.
“Nicole has has been with the society since she was small and it is wonderful to see one generation inspire the next,” said director Amy Cockett, who chose the music and choreography and also has a long-standing connection with the group: her late father-in-law, John Cockett, directed for 30 years having revived the former Hawes Operatic Society 60 years ago. Colin Bailey once again produces the show.
With such well known numbers as One Day I’ll Fly Away (Moulin Rogue), Reach for the stars (S Club 7) and I will survive (Gloria Gaynor) and many more, Jack and the Beanstalk starts this Wednesday at 7.30pm, with doors opening at 7pm.
Performances are at Hawes Market House, at 7.30pm from Wednesday, November 28, to Saturday December 1, with a matinee at 2pm Sunday on December 2.
Doors open a half hour before each performance. Tickets at £9 for adults and £6.50 for under-12s are available at Hawes Community Office and Library, 01969 667400. They can also be booked at www.wensleydalemtg.co.uk