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A well-polished panto that felt like it had come straight from the West-End.

I’ve seen enough pantomime’s to know that they can be very hit-and-miss. However, as the ensemble of talented performers danced their way onto the stage to the opening number, Footloose, I knew straight away that this one was going to be a hit!

Rest assured that when it comes to quality shows, there’s no place like The New Theatre, Peterborough.

Strictly Come Dancing star Katya Jones is the big name attached to this particular production. She was fantastic as Glinda the Good Witch, oozing with charm and reminding us why she became the Strictly Champion with a phenomenal dance-off.

During an exclusive interview with ESP (available to read on our website) Katya said, “I’m really enjoying it. I felt like it’s a good transition from the world of dance performance because our acting is a little over acting which is perfect for panto because it is cheesy, loud, lots of energy and interaction.

“I know Wizard of Oz isn’t traditional panto but I think it’s a good one with all the different characters and different stories, and there’s a moral to it of course and there’s going to be a little twist to it but now I feel like I’m so into this, like I was born to do it!”

For me, it’s the song choices that make or break a good panto and the ones chosen for this show were perfect. Hits from The Greatest Showman and Queen (to name a few) helped create a real energy to the venue – and with a theatre of that size, when the crowd are really getting into the spirit, there’s nothing quite like it.

Leah Pinney was also great as Dorothy – with quite the voice on her!

Samuel Freeman (the brainless Scarecrow), Ben Brooker (the heartless Tinman) and Thomas Cove (the cowardly Lion), had amazing chemistry and really bounced off each other. They were comfortable enough to throw in a few unscripted moments that had the audience laughing-out-loud.

What’s a panto without a villain? Shane Convery was hilarious as the Wicked Witch with some refreshingly original put-downs for the audience.

The ensemble also included talented juniors from Peterborough’s Tu Danse Studios.

I have to say though, the star of the show was Dorothy’s loveable companion Toto, played by Tilly the dog. So cute!

I’ve seen panto’s before where the humour, song choices, dancing and jokes were all spot-on (as they were here!) but the thing that blew me away with this show was the set-design.

A lot of thought was put into the backdrops and after a short while, you genuinely feel like you’ve been transported to Oz.

Having been taken over by Selladoor and with a new team running things, The New Theatre in Peterborough has treated us to some amazing shows in a short amount of time this year. Their first panto was everything I wanted and more!

Shows are only running until December 31 so don’t miss out – grab your tickets now by visiting

ESP Rating: 5/5

Mikey Clarke


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