A pantomime during the Christmas season is one of the UK's longstanding festive traditions and Jack and the Beanstalk has brought it back to Swindon's Wyvern Theatre for the first time in two years.

The family friendly show, featuring Pineapple Dance Studios star Louie Spence as the Spirit of the Bean, hit musical Six's Millie O'Connell as Queen Fussybutt and a pair of recent graduates, Zack Guest and Rebecca Jardine, playing their first ever lead roles in Jack and Jill opened earlier this week.

For the small ensemble cast of the show, which also included panto stalwart Matt Rixon as Dame Trot, Samuel Parker as Silly Billy and Danny Lane as the villainous Fleshcreep, it was a chance to get back to doing what they loved as many of them hadn't been on a stage since the pandemic had started.

Swindon Advertiser: Jack and the BeanstalkJack and the Beanstalk

It was clear to see during the show that all of the actors involved were having a blast with their performances as they presented a combination of classic and silly pantomime comedic bits as well as well-sung and choreographed modern pop numbers.

There was a mixture of pop hits from Little Mix and Olly Murs, musical numbers like Wicked's Defying Gravity and Live Out Loud from lesser known musical Little Princess and even some Meatloaf!

There were also some fantastic old-fashioned comedy slapstick moments including a protracted musical number where the cast revealed their alternative career dreams which saw lovable goof Silly Billy getting repeatedly hit by objects.

Swindon Advertiser: Jack and the BeanstalkJack and the Beanstalk

The script was light and wholesome and true to form, full several self-referential Swindon nods including a shout-out for The Adver which drew a wry smile from this reporter.

For the audience it was a much-needed chance to let their hair down, laugh and enjoy the light-hearted comedic antics of show that is designed to not be taken very seriously and it wasn't long until the auditorium was full of riotous laughter and deafening audience particpation.

There were even some gasps of awe from the crowd as Jack and the Beanstalk also had plenty of panto magic - from a tap-dancing cow and a gravity-defying beanstalk climb to a very impressive and scary introduction for the show's wicked giant.

Swindon Advertiser:

When real life has been as oppressive as it has for the last two years, there is no better cure, or tonic, than spending some time in a room full of hysterical and happy children defiantly responding to an evil giant's assistant calling them all losers by booing - it's joyous.

Sure, the jokes are silly and the whole thing is incredibly cheesey, but it's impossible not to have a good time.

If you'd like to book tickets - visit the website here - or call 0343 310 0040