When happy-go-lucky is tempted into selling his family’s beloved cow for a fistful of magic beans, he finds himself tangled in an adventure of epic proportions! Join Jack on his journey up an enchanted beanstalk as he tries to outwit a rampaging giant, all with the help of his larger-than-life mum.
This tall-tale is packed full of slapstick comedy, laugh-out-loud gags, stunning costumes, dazzling song and dance numbers and plenty of chances to cheer, boo and hiss. Hackney Empire’s pantomime has become one of the city’s most anticipated annual highlights bringing West End value at East End prices to attract an ever growing local, national and global fanbase.
For the first time, Olivier-Award winner Clive Rowe and Hackney panto veteran Tony Whittle will co-direct and star in the Empire’s 2021 pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk. Both making their 14th pantomime appearance, Grande Dame Clive Rowe will star as Dame Daisy Trot while Tony Whittle will play Councillor Higginbottom.
And in the title role is Rochelle Sherona, the Dagenham girl who began acting, singing and dancing when she was three-years-old and hasn’t stopped since: ‘It is something that has always been a part of my life,’ she says. And her parents knew this is what Rochelle was born to do: ‘My mum was the person that pushed me all the way… If it wasn’t for my parents I wouldn’t be where I am today.’
And where Rochelle is today is rehearsing for the role of Jack Trot for one of the most famous of pantomimes in one of the most legendary theatres.
But this hardworking actress has paid her dues by working her way up through iconic shows such as, Starlight Express, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and Mamma Mia! to get where she is today. Rochelle recalls those days: ‘A highlight for me was my first job in Starlight Express and learning how to skate… And going on for The Narrator in Joseph was also a great memory.’
But now, after a tough lockdown where Rochelle watched a lot of TV, did many different dance classes online and moved back in with her parents, another dream is coming true for her. I asked what her thoughts were when she got the call from Hackney: ‘I honestly couldn’t believe it. To be playing the lead in such a legendary Panto like Hackney Empire is something that I feel so honoured to be a part of.’
She also had some exciting news about what she will be doing in 2022, but can’t tell the world right now. But before we said our goodbyes Rochelle went on to thank the directors Tony and Clive ‘for trusting me to play the part of Jack Trot in this amazing show, and I encourage everyone who wants to have an incredible evening out to come and watch Jack and the Beanstalk at the Hackney Empire as it is such a magical place to be during the Christmas period.’
Hackney Empire, 291 Mare Street, E8 1EJ from 20th November – 2nd January. Times: Varied from 1.30pm, 6pm, 7pm. Admission: £10 – £42.
Booking: 020 8985 2424 – www.hackneyempire.co.uk