JACK AND THE BEANSTALK: Pantomime is nothing if not predictable.
It’s the festive tradition, like mince pies, over eating and Slade in mid-November.
But sometimes it’s good to break from the norm.
Blackpool Tower’s pantomimes are always a little bit different.
With 15 minutes of the second half gone there’s a chap walking around the outside of a giant circular cage suspended a good 20 feet above the ring.
That’s not quite the Jack and The Beanstalk most of us might remember.
But every credit for shoe-horning in a travelling circus, somewhere between the classic pantomime cow and our ever so humble hero.
It’s all rather refreshing.
There’s been no scraping of the barrel in the land that stars forgot and there’s no sign of the one hit wonder in the soundtrack.
Let’s face it the Tower Circus’ resident band probably wouldn’t allow it.
They know a tune when they hear one and that toe tapping hits rather than irritating ear-worms are the background of a hit show.
Yes, the Endresz family have tinkered with the plot - but haven’t the boys at Disney a habit of doing that?
There’s a beanstalk, a giant, a cow, a bag of magic beans... everything else, well that’s just window dressing.
And besides, all that business is just an excuse to show off some truly dazzling circus talent.
Some of the stunts really are heart-stopping.
And even when the cast, sourced from across all of Europe, aren’t performing death-defying feats of derring-do, their acts are mesmerising.
And making it all tick there’s the Tower’s own dynamic duo.
Even if they weren’t part of the family the Tower Circus wouldn’t swap Mooky and Mr Boo for the world.
If anything the show is lacking more of their unique chemistry and humour.
While Mooky makes a decent enough hero, it’s a clown he owns the ring.
Without saying a word his invisible dog routine remains a knockout, talking of which there’s a magnificent new audience participation spot during which there’s a chance for the crowd to land a decisive blow.
Okay, at times there are questions over the sound and the animated sequence look dated.
But with so much fun does that really matter?
Oh no, it doesn’t