For a few hours, I was a kid again!
With the refreshments, bright lights and gifts that come this time of the year, I can’t help but feel like a big kid. Nothing brings out my inner-child quite like watching panto. I’ve just been to see Peter Pan at the Cresset and I wasn’t disappointed.
For those that are unfamiliar with the classic story, it focuses on Peter Pan (the clue is in the title), a boy who refuses to grow up. Already, I can relate.
Peter often visits the house of the Darling family to secretly listen to the stories that Mrs. Mary Darling tells her three children (Wendy, John and Michael).
With the help of his fairy friend, Tinkerbell, he decides to invite the youngsters to a magical place called Neverland, where they can share their stories with his gang, the Lost Boys.
Unfortunately Neverland is also home to some evil pirates, particularly the fearsome Captain Hook (cue the boo’s from hundreds of kids in the audience).
Hook wants rid of Peter Pan and uses the Darling children as a way to see that his wicked plan is fulfilled.
The story may sound dark, but of course – as is the way with most panto’s – it’s presented to the audience in a colourful, family friendly and fun way.
The star cast includes former Coronation Street star Steven Arnold as Captain Hook; Hollyoaks actor James Fletcher as Peter Pan; Peterborough’s favourite dame, Zach Vanderfelt, as Mrs Smee; Victoria Studd as Wendy and Jessica Woods as Tinkerbell.
Young local actors also star alongside the main cast as Wendy’s brothers, John and Michael, as well as the Lost Boys and pirates.
Although everyone involved added something to the family fun experience, it was James Fletcher who particularly shines as the title character.
With the Cresset going all out in the effects department, you’ll see him literally flying around the stage.
We’ve seen Fletcher on the tele, so we know he can act – but what you may not know is that he has an incredible voice too.
And speaking of the music, the show is filled with well-known hits from various decades. I’ve always respected shows that write their own songs, but children like familiarity and at the end of the day, they’re the main demographic.
In terms of story and choreography it’s not quite as polished at times as it could be, however, it is definitely the most fun panto that I’ve watched in a long time.
There is plenty of audience participation – and I’m not just referring to things being shouted out. So, whilst adults may notice the odd fault, the children likely won’t. They’ll be entertained and hooked throughout, and that’s what matters the most.
It may be worth mentioning that the original author of Peter Pan, J.M.Barrie, gifted the rights to the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in 1929. This incredible gift means that for every pantomime ticket sold at The Cresset, a percentage will go to this amazing charity.
Peter Pan runs until December 30 and I’d recommend you don’t miss it.
You can book your tickets here: www.cresset.co.uk/pantomime
Photos: Chris Brudenell [youtube id=”Nhiimn-fQ88″ width=”600″ height=”350″]