REVIEW: Jack and the Beanstalk, Theatre Royal, Newcastle, until January 18

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GIANT–killing flying stotties, inflatable Cheryl Coles on a stick and a custard pie fight to end all custard pie fights, welcome to the greatest panto in the land.

Just when you thought showmen Danny Adams and Clive Webb couldn’t possibly get any better, they’ve went and capped the lot with this year’s sensational pantomime.

Now in their ninth year of Newcastle performances, this time they’ve thrown everything into the mix to make for a simply wonderful, hilarious and spectacular show.

Flying helicopters? They’ve got ‘em. 3D special effects? No problem. A 50ft animatronic giant that reaches out into the audience? Yeah, what colour do you want?

More, in the case of this team, means more. More fun, more laughs, more songs, more effects, more audience participation and more stunts and outrageous costumes than you can shake a stick at (in their case it was a stick festooned with four blow-up Cheryl Coles, as part of their Geordie 12 days of Christmas singalong).

But surreal stunts and madcap set-pieces aside, it’s the marvelous cast and the funny script make this show the highlight of the Newcastle Christmas festivities.

Motormouth Danny as Jack is the runaway star of the show, but the other main players are given plenty of room to shine.

Chris Hayward as Dame Trott sparkles as much as her brilliantly conceived costumes, which ought really to get their own star billing.

Whitley Bay’s Steve Arnott too works the crowd into a frenzy of boos as the evil Fleshcreep.

When things go wrong (whether intentionally or not) the whole place erupts and the cast seemed to love every minute they are on stage.

The audience are always a key part of the show and this year they provided the biggest laughs as Danny and Co took no prisoners with a crowd-cam catching individuals out on a giant screen.

As always, Jack slays the giant … but this giant of a production slays ‘em all. Absolutely brilliant.