PANTO watching is like opening a tin of biscuits, you know what biscuit you want but as there is such a wide selection you can't just take one and you end up scooping up a handful to eat.

And that is what it is like when watching a panto.

You need a few boos and hisses, songs, good guys and evil villains and corny jokes.

You might not like all the biscuits or all the ingredients in the panto but it doesn't work without all the individual parts.

This is the family fun and frolics which is served up at the Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre.

This selection is there for everyone to enjoy as everyone is entertained royally thanks to Simple Simon (Sam Stay); Fairy Sunflower (Georgina Hendry); The Princess (Clare McCreadie); Malevolence (Emily Jane-Brooks); Dame Trott (Dave Lynn); Jack Trott (Darryn Watkins) and Daisy the cow.

The first half of the pantomime deals with meeting the characters (plenty of chances to boos and hiss the villain and cheer the hero), getting a context of what is happening in the story and what the hero, Jack, has to do in order to defeat the Giant and win the hand of the Princess.

Somerset County Gazette:

Jack and the Beanstalk is set up like the pantos many of the parents who will go along with their children will remember, but this is not a bad thing, in fact there is comfort in the traditional at Christmas.

There is something comforting about seeing something you saw as a child being served up to a new generation and hearing them enjoy it as much as those in the past.

The first half of the panto like the second is filled with jokes galore, musical numbers and set pieces with the Dame interacting with the audience, adding an extra comedic factor to the panto and Malevolence being there to add a little bit of menace to proceedings.

Somerset County Gazette:

By the end of the first half we are left with Jack about to climb the Beanstalk to go up to Cloud Land to rescue the Princess.

After the interval, we are back with Jack on his adventure.

But like any good panto he is not alone.

Rescuing a Princess in a panto is not a solo occupation, no Simple Simon, and the Dame are there to lend a helping hand.

There are two comic set pieces to watch out for.

Firstly between Simple Simon and Malevolence which involves a mobile phone. I won't spoil it but it adds an extra sparkle.

And there is the Dame, Simple Simon, Jack and The Princess trying to avoid the ghost and ghouls.

This is done to great comic effect with plenty of shouts of 'behind you' as each of the line up disappears one by one until the end.

How has the panto gone down with the general public?, well, according to director Matt Summer, who said: "They have loved it, everything about it.

"You have got to have all the ingredients for the kids.

Somerset County Gazette:

"This is a professional show and the set is something you would normally see in Bristol or Birmingham.

"I do not think Taunton has had a professional panto and we want people to know there is one at the Tacchi-Morris this Christmas."

Jack and the Beanstalk is 100 per cent panto.

It can only exist in panto-land and no where else.

It will give those who watch it everything they want from a panto and maybe even a bit more.

Sit back, relax and enjoy this flight of fancy for some festive Christmas fun.

Jack and the Beanstalk is at the Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre until December 23.

Buy tickets online at

Watch a preview of Jack and the Beanstalk here: