REVIEW: Jack and the Bean Pie – Òran Mór, Glasgow

“It’s the annual summer festival in Sprout-Town-Upon-Brie and everybody expects the somewhat deranged Farmer Frank to walk away with the ‘Best Pie’ award like he always does. But a plucky new contender, Jack McKack has other plans. She has created a Bean Pie that is even tastier than a Fray Bentos special. Fearing for his title, the devious farmer steals the pie, kidnaps Jack’s mum and sets about attempting to unlock the secrets of the wondrous pie of beans. But Jack, alongside her new ageing pop-star friend Farty Pellow, won’t give in easily and sets off on an epic adventure to rescue her mum and – more importantly – get her pie back.”

Òran Mór’s subversive summer panto is back. This time from the pen of acclaimed Scottish writer Andy McGregor. McGregor has a fine track record with the smash hits Crocodile Rock and Spuds among many gems.

Jack and the Bean Pie is certainly not for the kiddies. It is a bright, bawdy, rude and crude romp with plenty of good old fashioned belly laughs. McGregor manages to shoe-horn in every pantomime trope you can think of. Yes, there are plenty of ‘dad’ jokes, a little bit of minor audience harassment and sing-a-long songs, but it cleverly steers clear of uncomfortable, lazy, hoary old jokes. There’s even a Stephen Sondheim Sweeney Todd take off that the theatre luvvies will adore.

The strength of the whole endeavour lies with the incredible cast. Fraser Boyle is a big presence as Jill, our candy stripe clad Dame. Rachel Flynn has a West End worthy voice as our pie-baking hero Jack. David McKnight plays, and I quote “all the shitey wee parts” with aplomb but it’s Richard Conlon and his off-the-wall take on baddie Farmer Frank and Rebekah Lumsden (another incredible set of pipes) as 80s pop legend Farty Pellow, who steal the show. The outlandish characterisations are hysterical. You won’t be able to resist the insanity.

A fine addition to Òran Mór’s summer panto legacy. A drink, something to eat and a first class show all for £20.

Runs until 23 July 2023

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