Fee Fie Foe Fum

Kids are a notoriously tough crowd. Lose their interest once and they're gone forever, and while they might enjoy being pandered to they hate being patronised. Clearly I'm not the target market for Gas and Air's Fee Fie Fo Fum – I'm not a child – but I think this production's sole performer knew how to strike the balance.With only three or four rather shy, reticent youngsters in the room, audience participation wasn't particularly forthcoming – one amusing moment featuring 'giant music' played on a heavily distorted stringed instrument would have been a lot more fun if these prematurely dull individuals had taken up the offer to join in the performance – but although the actor was obviously working hard, it's to his credit that it never felt like hard work.The show takes the form of a meeting called by a giant at the top of a beanstalk (not the giant, as his monologue makes clear that he is one of many) to warn children of the dangers of Jack the Giant-Slayer, setting the fairytale record straight. As a dispatch from the other side of the Great Bean War, it's sympathetic and inventively topsy-turvy, based on an evident understanding shared by Roald Dahl that children are usually more interested in the blood and guts than the good guy. That said, it's a bit bizarre to end with the supposed hero falling to his potential painful death.It's often quite funny for (forgive me) kids and grown-ups alike, with jokes about the Coronation Street theme tune and the life of a pop star 'bachelor boy' keeping withered old ruins like myself awake. The Giant gives it his all and is great at varying his voice and physicality – my personal favourite imitation was the tricked victim shouting over the loss of 'MY NICE THINGS!' - but it's a shame there wasn't the roomful of kids needed to bring this sort of thing to life.

Reviews by Richard O'Brien

The Blurb

Everybody knows Jack. He's the cheeky wee fella from the stories who always comes out on top. But wait! Maybe this time he's finally met his match. Storytelling, music and theatre for all the family.