Get ready to take a trip to Neverland this Christmas as The Cresset will have us flying high in December with this year’s panto Peter Pan, and it’s one that kids of any age will enjoy.
We do believe in fairies, we do! It’s fair to say we could all do with a bit of fairy magic this year and hopefully Tinkerbell will have plenty for us as she helps Peter Pan take to the sky – yes actual flying – to take on the dastardly Captain Hook.
With Hollyoaks star James Fletcher as Peter (could he look more perfect for the role?) and none other than Kevin Kennedy, Corrie’s loveable Curly Watts, turning bad guy as our panto villain, we reckon it’ll have you cheering and booing in equal measure.
Kevin told ESP he can’t wait – “It’s great fun, I can’t think of a better job to have at Christmas.
“There’s a new found enthusiasm for live performances because we’ve been starved of it. I’ve found personally the audiences are livelier, happy to be there and appreciative.”
“I love playing Captain Hook. I’ve played him before and I love it because it’s traditional and you don’t have to build up that part to be bad. As soon as you walk on and they see the hook and the hair and the pirate costume they know exactly who it is. He’s traditionally the worst panto villain and he never gets redeemed."
Kevin was much loved as Curly Watts in Coronation Street but does he now get fed up with references to the role?
“I’ve never really understood why actors get a bit offended by the work that they’ve done. I’m very proud of that body of work, that back catalogue of wonderfully, wonderfully written stories that I was lucky enough to be given on Coronation Street. I’m flattered and humbled that people remember it – and people do – it usually coincides with something that happened in their life.”
Now he says he’s eager to head to Neverland – “It’ll be very traditional, very funny and you’ll recognise everything I’ve stolen from other Captain Hooks on the tele. Slightly ridiculous but none-the-less deadly!”
Jamie is our hero Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up, but he’s familiar to many as troubled teen Dylan Jenkins in Hollyoaks. This gives him the chance to shine in a far more playful role.
“Being in the cast of a pantomime is basically being paid to just have a laugh with your friends and vaguely stick to a script and make it up as you go along having a lot of fun!”
He’s very excited about one aspect in particular – “Lots of flying! We have a full rig for me to get up in the air so there will be flying this Christmas!”
But one of his favourite things about panto is that all important audience interaction.
“When you’re on stage and you can feel the audience are ready to be played with and you can get a bit of back and forth with them and they’re on side - at that point you’re free and you can just entertain and you’re going to have a lovely time.
“If kids don’t like something they let you know! Kids can be the toughest critics but also the most rewarding people to win over because if they do believe in fairies this Christmas they’re going to have a whale of a wonderful time!”
Joe Chambers, from CBeebies TV show The Rhyme Rocket will be having fun playing Hook’s sidekick Smee.
“I just like the camaraderie of it all,” he told ESP. “You get thrown into this thing with a new group of people and start being ridiculous immediately and it turns into something hopefully quite good.
“Smee is very much under the thumb of Mrs Smee and also Captain Hook – he gets drawn into the nasty stuff with him but tries to keep himself on the straight and narrow.
"I think he’s got a good heart whilst being a complete buffoon!”
More comedy comes from Edward Simpson who plays Mrs Smee – “I play the traditional dame with a slight twist. Usually the dame is a widow with a silly son, whereas this time I’m married with a silly husband!
“You can expect plenty of traditional cheeky dame gags, plenty of costume changes and lots of lovely wigs and I’m sure every night I’ll find a boyfriend in the front row of the audience to flirt with all through the show.
"Dads come with their young kids and get terribly embarrassed and that’s what their kids love so they have to put up with it!”
The panto is another from Stuart Morrison Productions who’ve brought us some fantastic shows in the past. Katie Paine stars as Wendy, Hollyoaks’ Vera Chok plays Tinkerbell and Cresset regular George Dee plays Tiger.
The pantomime Peter Pan can be seen at The Cresset Theatre in Peterborough from December 15 – 31.
To book your tickets call 01733 265705 or visit www.cresset.co.uk