Reviews

Rating : 5 stars

Theatre Review: Beanstalk, Spare Parts Puppet Theatre

Comedian, actor, writer and director Sam Longley beautifully brings to life the 'revised' version of Jack and the Beanstalk.
Theatre Review: Beanstalk, Spare Parts Puppet Theatre Writer and performer Sam Longley in Beanstalk. Photo by Rebecca Mansell.

Victoria Wyatt

Friday 8 January, 2021

Spare Parts Puppet Theatre's (SPPT) Beanstalk is the revised version – perhaps the true story – of Jack and the Beanstalk, and boy is it a cracking tale.

Do we really know what happened that day the 'Groundler' Jack turned up unannounced at Brian’s cloud making kitchen? Was it the grim bone crunching horror story we have all grown up to know? Beanstalk answers these questions and more. 

Sam Longley has been kicking around Perth working as a comedian, actor, writer and director since the mid-nineties, but I can honestly say that far and away, this is the best thing I have ever seen him involved with.

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Beanstalk is Longley's (most recent) baby, which took two years to develop and about five seconds to win over the audience. It's a fabulous kick-off to what will surely be a huge season for SPPT as it celebrates it’s 40th year.

Any show that makes its audience feel and empathise with its characters has a strong aura of magic – especially when said characters are made up of a variety of food types. You will laugh and cry along with the ups and downs of a loaf of bread, reel in horror at the squishing of a tomato, and be filled with wonder as a forest is conjured from various bunches of green vegies.

Quite simply, you will never be able to walk through the fresh section of a supermarket in quite the same way ever again!

Any show that makes its audience feel and empathise with its characters has a strong aura of magic.

The clever little set is one of the best I have seen at SPPT for a long while, and even just for the extremely clever use of a fairy floss machine deserves accolades of the highest order.

Composer Lee Buddle's music score heightens the magic further and is sparse, but so, so effective.

Writer and performer Sam Longley in Beanstalk. Photo by Rebecca Mansell.

Sam Longley is the star here as he brings Brian the Cloud giant and the rest of the characters to life so beautifully and navigates the little set and all its wonders deftly.

Beanstalk may only be 50 minutes long, but it is packed with more food puns and clever gaffs than you could poke the proverbial stick at. The writing is so tight and clever that, just as with all the high-budget Hollywood kids flicks, there are hidden gems that keep the parents and adults giggling just as much as the ‘Groundlers’.

A wonderful start to a huge season for this great local institution.

5 stars out of 5 ★★★★

Beanstalk
Presented by Spare Parts Puppet Theatre
Created and performed by Sam Longley
Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Fremantle
11-30 January 2021 

About the author

Victoria Wyatt has worked across the music/festival/theatre scenes in New York, London and Rome for the last 15 years. She is currently back in her hometown of Perth and can be found writing for Artshub, designing sets and interactive displays for children's/community events and stage/production managing around town.


Victoria has worked across the music/festival/theatre scenes in New York, London and Rome for the last 15 years. She is currently back in her hometown of Perth and can be found writing for Artshub, designing sets and interactive displays for children's/community events and stage/production managing around town.
Victoria has worked across the music/festival/theatre scenes in New York, London and Rome for the last 15 years. She is currently back in her hometown of Perth and can be found writing for Artshub, designing sets and interactive displays for children's/community events and stage/production managing around town.
Victoria has worked across the music/festival/theatre scenes in New York, London and Rome for the last 15 years. She is currently back in her hometown of Perth and can be found writing for Artshub, designing sets and interactive displays for children's/community events and stage/production managing around town.
Victoria has worked across the music/festival/theatre scenes in New York, London and Rome for the last 15 years. She is currently back in her hometown of Perth and can be found writing for Artshub, designing sets and interactive displays for children's/community events and stage/production managing around town.
Victoria has worked across the music/festival/theatre scenes in New York, London and Rome for the last 15 years. She is currently back in her hometown of Perth and can be found writing for Artshub, designing sets and interactive displays for children's/community events and stage/production managing around town.
Victoria has worked across the music/festival/theatre scenes in New York, London and Rome for the last 15 years. She is currently back in her hometown of Perth and can be found writing for Artshub, designing sets and interactive displays for children's/community events and stage/production managing around town.