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Review Jack and the Beanstalk Panto at Manchester Opera House 2023

Review Jack and the Beanstalk Panto Manchester - Jason Manford and Ben Nickless Credit Phil Tragen
8 Dec 2023

The big panto is back in Manchester as Jack and the Beanstalk has climbed onto the Manchester Opera House stage for 2023. Check out what we thought in our review.  

A show at Christmas is a must-do tradition and it is great to see the big Manchester Panto back for 2023 with  Manchester Opera House bringing Jack and the Beanstalk to the stage. 

Running until 31st December 2023, the Manchester Panto stars Jason Manford, Ben Nickless and Myra Dubois.

We were invited along to check out Jack and the Beanstalk panto at their press night for a night of festive antics.

Review of The Jack and the Beanstalk Manchester Opera House 2023

Review Jack and the Beanstalk Panto Manchester - Jason Manford and and cast on stage finale Credit Phil Tragen
Credit Phil Tragen

We have been going to the Manchester Pantos at the Opera House since the children were little and it has become one of our family’s highlights of the run-up to Christmas.

I was therefore excited to be invited back to check out this year’s Panto, Jack and the Beanstalk. I took along my 11-year-old little girl for a mother-and-daughter night out. 

The story is a twist on the well-known tale.  Jack and his dim-witted brother Simon run a farm in Mancunia ruled by the lovely Princess Jill.

There is only one problem. High above Mancunia lives a giant and his wife Myra Blunderore who wants to eat all Jack’s animals.

When Princess Jill is kidnapped with a ransom of the livestock, Jack is forced to sell his prized cow, Patsy. When he is tricked into swapping her for plain old beans, the Spirit of the Beans steps in to try to save the day. 

Review Jack and the Beanstalk Panto Manchester - Jason Manford and Cow Credit Phil Tragen
Credit Phil Tragen

Jason Manford plays Jack and is again the big star panto name this year.

Arriving on stage to a large applause, within minutes he had broken character and the audience was treated to a mini version of his standup act. It should be no surprise that this was well-received and truly hilarious. 

The laughs continued throughout the show where Manford showed that he could not only deliver a punch line but also hold a tune. Delights included Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat I Close My Eyes and the famous Big Band number Me and My Cow!

Review Jack and the Beanstalk Panto Manchester - Jason Manford Credit Phil Tragen
Credit Phil Tragen

The jokes also continued as he joined forces with Manchester panto favourite Ben Nickless as the new Jack and the Beanstalk Character.

Having seen Ben Nickless in the previous four Manchester pantos, I had high expectations and am glad to say he did not disappoint.  

Performing with a comedy legend such as Manford it would be easy to be overshadowed but this certainly was not the case.

Within minutes of appearing on the stage, he had everyone chuckling and impressed naming most areas in Greater Manchester in his I’ve Been Everywhere Song.

It was great to see his abundance of impressions were back with his version of Do They Know It’s Christmas Time which had everyone laughing out loud. His Ozzy Osmond, complete with a full outfit was a real treat.

Review Jack and the Beanstalk Panto Manchester - Ben Nickless Credit Phil Tragen
Credit Phil Tragen

The pair made a perfect comedy duo and I am confident in proclaiming that they were even better than last year.

They had great comedy timing and instantly built a rapport with the audience. 

They offer just the correct level of cheeky jokes which had my 11-year-old daughter chuckling mixed with fun double entendres that left my daughter confused as to why all the adults were gleefully sniggering – just as it should be.

Review Jack and the Beanstalk Panto Manchester - Myra DuBois as Mrs Blunderbore - Credit Phil Tragen
Credit Phil Tragen

Of course, a panto is not a panto without a good old baddy and Britain’s Got Talent Myra Dubois as the giant’s wife Myra Blunderbore was certainly that.   

With enough menace to warrant the traditional panto boos, she also had the audience in stitches with some of the best one-liners of the evening. Watch out if you are seated near the stage as you may become her love interest and ann hilarious part of the show for the evening. 

Review Jack and the Beanstalk Panto Manchester - Samara Casteallo Spirit of the Beanstalk Credit Phil Tragen
Credit Phil Tragen

As we have come to expect from the big Manchester shows, no panto magic had been spared.

Expect great costumes, amazing sets, a huge growing beanstalk and a flying panto car.

Of course, Jack and the Beanstalk isn’t complete without the giant, which you get to see in practically his full form – and who might be a tad scary for younger kids.

The show of course had all the elements that you would expect from a panto, with an abundance of ‘oh no he isn’t’, oos and cheers, a very risky tongue twister and lots of audience interaction.

It was great to see the Panto staple of the adapted If I Were Not In A Pantomime song make an appearance. 

It had the whole audience laughing out loud especially when everything seemed to go wrong and featured lots of slapstick comedy. It was very funny to watch. 

In the current climate, a night of panto basics, and good old-fashioned humour was just what was needed.  

I was in hysterics throughout and my eleven-year-old daughter loved the slapstick and toilet humour along with the amazing butterfly dancers especially when they came out into the audience. 

Having been to lots of pantos over the years with and without kids, I can honestly say Jack and the Beanstalk Panto at the Manchester Opera House is the best I have seen so far. 

If you are looking for a night of fun and laughter this Christmas season this show will make the perfect festive treat.

Book tickets >>> Jack and the Beanstalk Panto at Manchester Opera House 


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