Friday, 15 April 2022

Jack & The Beanstalk at The Epstein Theatre, Liverpool - A Review

My family and I were very excited to return to the Epstein Theatre in Liverpool, to enjoy Regal Entertainments fabulous Easter pantomime production of Jack and the Beanstalk, which is running until the 24th April. This giant panto spectacular tells the story of a young boy named Jack, who sells their family cow for a handful of beans. During his adventures, he falls in love with the beautiful Princess Jill, who is then kidnapped by the evil Mrs Fleshcreep on behalf of the wicked Giant. However, the beans transpire to not be as worthless as initially thought, as a magical beanstalk soon grows up into the sky, allowing Jack to not only rescue the Princess, but to help his family too in the process.

Jack and the Beanstalk features a wonderful cast, a great selection of music, dazzling scenery and exceptional choreography, which all make this pantomime a pleasure to watch. From the opening scene, my youngest son was captivated and we were all extremely impressed by everyone involved in creating this family show. Not only did this production tell the story of Jack, but it did so in true Liverpudlian fashion, whilst also paying tribute to local legends both past and present, which we thought was a lovely touch.

Timothy Lucas is absolutely fantastic as Jack Trott and having seen him on stage previously in other panto roles, we knew we were in for a treat. His stage presence is simply superb and his comedic timing, facial expressions and delivery are just hilarious. Jack's brother, Simple Simon is played by Lewis Devine and the pair of them together provide laughter in abundance. Lewis has been a panto favourite of ours for years and he supplies non-stop entertainment with his loveable charm and humour.

Photo Credit: David Munn Photography

Dame Trott is played by Mark Two and he provides plenty of amusement throughout the show with his quick wit and cheeky innuendoes. It was a pleasant surprise to read in the programme that Mark's costumes are exclusively made and designed by himself and his wife Dee. Their talent and creativity was definitely highlighted in the extravagant styling of Dame Trott's outfits.

Princess Jill is played by Maddie Hope Coelho who brought sweetness and charm to the role. She worked well alongside Jack and their performances together were fun and enjoyable. 

Abigail Middleton did a superb job as Mrs Fleshcreep and I was left particularly impressed by her wonderful performance in the opening scene of Act Two, which was outstanding. She played the villain well, but wasn't too scary for the younger guests in the audience which I felt was just the right balance for a family friendly show.

Photo Credit: David Munn Photography

Fairy Mary was due to be played by Jenna Sian O'Hara, but due to illness on the day, the show director Olivia Sloyan brushed off her fairy wings and stepped into the role as a last minute replacement and highlighted her outstanding talent once again. We have had the pleasure of watching Olivia perform many times before and have always been blown away by her beautiful vocals. This pantomime performance was no exception and we also loved the sassiness she brought to the stage. 

The chosen musical numbers were definite crowd pleasers and my family and I particularly enjoyed the school scene in the first half of the show, where the cast deliver an excellent rendition of the song Revolting Children, which is extremely well presented with wonderful choreography.

Jack and the Beanstalk offers families a fantastic source of entertainment this Easter, and features all the must-have characteristics of a fun and exciting pantomime performance. It is wonderfully presented by an incredibly talented cast and crew, who deliver a show that is fast paced and packed full of energy from start to finish. The comedy and jokes that were showcased throughout had guests of all ages laughing out loud. It was also great to see audience participation return after the restrictions of the past couple of years and it was lovely watching everyone shouting, cheering and getting out of their seats to dance, which together created a brilliant atmosphere. Tickets are on sale now for this incredible show, so don't miss your chance to enjoy this giant spectacular pantomime this Easter. 

Photo Credit: David Munn Photography

You can find out more by visiting The Epstein Theatre website at www.epsteintheatre.co.uk

You can also follow The Epstein Theatre on the following social media pages:

Facebook - facebook.com/EpsteinTheatre

Twitter - @EpsteinTheatre

Listing Details

Show - Jack and the Beanstalk presented by Regal Entertainments Ltd

Venue - The Epstein Theatre, 85 Hanover Street, Liverpool, L1 3DZ

Dates - Wednesday 13th April 2022 to Sunday 24th April 2022

Times - Show times vary, therefore please visit the venue website for the most up to date information.

Tickets - From £14

How to Book

Book online: www.epsteintheatre.co.uk

Telephone bookings: Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm call 0844 888 9991 (calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company's access charge).

Group and School Bookings: Available by calling 0844 888 9991 (calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company's access charge).

In person: The Epstein Theatre Box Office is open Monday to Saturday between 12pm and 6pm, or two hours prior to the performance time on Sundays or Bank Holidays. Please note there is a £1 per ticket transaction fee when booking in person at the box office.


*Disclaimer - We were provided with a complimentary family ticket to the press night performance, for the purpose of writing an honest review of the show and our experience. All thoughts and opinions are our own. Details provided are believed to be correct at the time of writing but can be subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the venues own site in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Saturday, 9 April 2022

(AD) Getting Creative This Easter with Plasticine - A Review

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

I have so many memories of playing with Plasticine as a child. It was one of my favourite creative activities and I was always excited when my childminder brought out the big Plasticine box after picking me up from school. My friends and I would all make different creations and play scenes and we would often try and make items that were based on the topics we were learning in school, just so we had an excuse to take our little models into class the next day to show the teacher.

Plasticine is a timeless classic and is the ideal modelling compound for children, due to it being soft and easy to use. It is recommended for children aged 5+ and it can be used in a wide variety of ways, that are sure to inspire artistic creativity.

When my family and I were recently offered the chance to review a selection of Plasticine products, I jumped at the chance to be involved and all the memories I had quickly came flooding back. Whilst Plasticine is wonderful for getting your children to be creative, it can very easily be enjoyed by adults too, so we had a lovely Easter themed afternoon where my kids and I tried out all the items and came up with some wonderful creations.

The products we received were Plasticine Uber Tubes, Plasticine Tower Blox, Plasticine Toolz Box, Plasticine Fluro and Plasticine 24 Colour Max. My youngest son couldn't wait to get started so we began opening all the items whilst beginning to think of what we would like to make together. My other children and my husband also had their own ideas so we split the colours and items fairly between everyone to ensure that everyone had enough of each colour along with some tools.


The Plasticine Tower Blox Set is fabulous and contains absolutely everything you need to create plenty of items or characters. The box is well presented and we loved the bright and bold colours. It is the ideal starter pack as it includes 10 different colours, all with their own funky storage tubs, 10 cutters, 2 modelling tools, a roller, a mat and an instruction sheet.


The Plasticine Uber Tubes was my son's favourite pack as this included 16 different colours of plasticine which provides you with plenty of creative opportunities. Again the packaging was bold and bright and I liked the fact that you could clearly see what colours were enclosed. Riley loved the characters on the front of the pack and thought that the sheep was really funny. Inside the pack we also found tools, a mat and a roller.


The Plasticine Toolz box is the ideal introduction to Plasticine, along with the Plasticine Fluro and Plasticine 24 Colour Max as all of these items offer excellent value for money and are also the ideal starter size packs. The Plasticine Toolz Box contained 4 small shaped cutters, 1 roller, 1 modelling tool, 7 colours of plasticine and storage tray. Riley loved being able to carry the box around and I liked the fact that it made items easy to store away when not in use.

The Plasticine Fluro pack includes 130g of plasticine in funky neon colours and is presented in the same shape and style as how I remember it being as a child. The Plasticine 24 Colour Max pack has 24 strips of different colours along with an ideas sheet to help give you some inspiration. I feel that these three items together would also make a lovely birthday gift due to their affordable price.


Riley spent ages putting all his creative ideas together and he was amazed at how easy it was to use and mould into the shapes he wanted. If something didn't work out quite the way he had planned, then he was able to reshape it and try again without worrying that it may have gone hard or that he couldn't use that piece again. The beauty of plasticine is that it can be used numerous times, as it never dries out, meaning that there are so many creative possibilities.
 

My daughter and I decided to make some Easter bunnies, but initially I wasn't too sure where to begin. I got some inspiration for the body shapes from some of the idea sheets that were enclosed with the products, whilst my talented daughter just began creating from scratch. I ended up becoming very invested in my miniature project and I found the tools really useful for helping me with the smaller details. I ended up making the white bunny in the picture above (which I am very proud of), whilst my daughter made the grey bunny, carrot and basket of eggs. 
  

Riley wanted to work with more rounded shapes, so he opted to make some Hot Cross Buns and an Easter Chick. For only nine years of age, I think he did very well and I thought his Easter Chick turned out extremely cute.  He also found it useful using the roller and the tools to help him with the finer details and he was really pleased with the final outcome.


Overall we had a lovely afternoon playing with the Plasticine. We came up with so many creations and really enjoyed helping one another and working together on some of the pieces. We love that the unused plasticine can be stored neatly in the blox cubes and we have used the tool box to store the tools along with some of our creations to keep them safe. My son has already decided that we are going to try and make zoo animals next time which sounds like a great idea. I think that the products are superb and also offer excellent value for money. I would therefore happily recommend these products to others and we will definitely be building on our plasticine collection going forwards. 

The Plasticine range of products are available to purchase at Amazon.

To find out more about Plasticine and the other products in their range, then you can visit the Flair Group website, or their social media pages on the following channels:

Instagram - @flair_gp 



*Disclaimer - We were gifted these items for the purpose of writing an honest review of the products. All thoughts and opinions are our own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links.