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Jack & the Beanstalk starring Holly Easterbrook and Tony Christie on at Cambridge Arts Theatre

Holly Easterbrook as Jack in Jack & the Beanstalk
Holly Easterbrook as Jack in Jack & the Beanstalk

For the second year running, actress Holly Easterbrook will be starring in panto at the Cambridge Arts Theatre over the Christmas period.

Cast of Jack & the Beanstalk
Cast of Jack & the Beanstalk

In 2016, Holly Easterbrook took on the title role in Dick Whittington.

This year, she’s playing Jack in an exciting and technically ambitious new production of Jack & the Beanstalk, alongside such established names as (Is This The Way To) Amarillo singer Tony Christie, who plays ‘The King of Amarillo’, and actress Liza Goddard, who inhabits the role of the Good Fairy.

The show began its run on Thursday, November 30 and will continue until Sunday, January 7, with a few days off – Christmas Day and New Year’s Day – in between.

Speaking to the Cambridge Independent from the Arts Theatre the day before the opening night, Holly said the cast was ready to go after two weeks of rehearsals and some time getting to grips with the technical side of the production.

Alexandra Waite-Roberts as Princess Kate and Tony Christie as The King. Picture: Richard Hubert Smith
Alexandra Waite-Roberts as Princess Kate and Tony Christie as The King. Picture: Richard Hubert Smith

“We’ve got quite a lot of magic in the show,” expalined Holly. “I fly at the end of Act 1 and we have been making sure that all that stuff is safe and ready to go.”

Holly, 28, is very much enjoying the experience. “It’s actually my first time flying,” she revealed, “so that was very exciting because they got a harness specialist in, and he does all the Cirque du Soleil shows.”

She added: “It’s a lovely bunch of people, lots of returning people who have done shows in Cambridge before and lots of new people who are really lovely as well, so it’s a good bunch.

“It’s been a really fun rehearsal process. The director [Carole Todd] was saying the other day: ‘I can’t believe nobody has shouted and nobody has cried – it’s unheard of!’”

Matt Crosby as Dame Trott. Picture: Richard Hubert Smith
Matt Crosby as Dame Trott. Picture: Richard Hubert Smith

On playing a boy for the second year in a row, Holly – a graduate of Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) – said: “That’s what you get when you’re a 5ft 10in actress!”

Holly continued: “Our beanstalk is really cool. It’s inflatable and it’s absolutely huge, so you see it grow live on stage which quite often you don’t see.

“The curtain will usually come down, or whatever, and then someone will get the beanstalk up – you don’t actually get to see it grow.

“And I get to properly climb it, which is very fun.”

Discussing the ongoing appeal of pantomime from an actor’s perspective, Holly concluded:

“I love that it’s very traditional. If you ask anybody what call-and-response is in panto, everybody knows – it’s universal – and I love that it’s for all the family.

“There are very few shows where the dads and the grandads can have as brilliant a time as the four-year-old kids and the 14-year-old kids. There really is something for everybody to enjoy.”

Jack & the Beanstalk is on at the Cambridge Arts Theatre until Sunday, January 7, 2018.

Tickets: £17-£39, including a £3 per-ticket booking fee.

Suitable for age 3+

Box office: 01223 503333



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