REVIEW | Peter Pan, Nottingham Theatre Royal


Peter Pan
Nottingham Theatre Royal
★★

Pantomime at Nottingham Theatre Royal is an important date on their calendar and every year it's a popular hit with the city. They regularly bring in big celebrity names, a visual spectacle and a polished performance that does bring audiences back year after year. This year's production was the classic J.M Barrie story Peter Pan but adapted for pantomime and with additional material from Joe Pasquale who stars in the production this Christmas.

I had high hopes for this production as it's one of my favourite stories, intrigued by how they'd bring such a story into pantomime context. The storyline is simplistic and the main foundations are definitely there but its filled out with the help of comedy fun, excellent choreography numbers and the wow factor with the set design. The Twelve Days of Christmas song was a favourite in the production and gave the audience lots of laughs as they were sprayed with a water gun.

Peter whisks Wendy and her brothers Michael and John off to Neverland where he lives with his mischevious fairy friend Tinker Bell (Lucy Evans) in toe.

The pace of this pantomime is rapid and nothing is lost in that, there's certainly a lot to be crammed into such a short space when you want all of the fun stuff too! There is great detail in the flying ability and the actors execute the transitions from using the equipment to give a fluid performance. We quickly transition from the children's bedroom in London to the wonders of Neverland where we meet the terrifying Captain Hook (John Challis) and his latest recruit - Smee, played by the loveable comedian actor Joe Pasquale. Of course, a lot of people have paid to see these two actors but I do believe there was far too much emphasis on how much stage time Pasquale could get to crack jokes and it wasn't to my tastes. Whilst I'm all for bigger names entering the world of pantomime it doesn't feel traditional to me which is disappointing. Our audience often did lap up his naturally cheeky ways and comic timing but it didn't work for me.




Peter Pan, however, played by Jack McNeill is excellent casting. He is genuinely charming, a fantastic singer and processes a warming personality that the audience will adore. He doesn't break out of all the right Peter Pan poses and manages to keep his cool when Joe Pasquale can be distracting.

John Challis is certainly great as Hook and I definitely wish there was more of him on stage! He knew how to command the audience and help us along with the story.

There is a strong ensemble in this production who show off some spectacular choreographic and fighting skills. This year's Theatre Royal Babes are adorable as the Lost Children and definitely could have been integrated into specific scenes more!

The production does have a lot of attraction for families this Christmas and a section where you are invited to place 3D glasses on. I didn't think this part was necessary to our story and maybe even scary for younger audiences to experience. You won't be disappointed by the gorgeous set design and it really is an enchanting experience that enables you to feel like you are really in Neverland or on the pirate ship. The giant crocodile at the end of act one is incredible and really did take my breath away, as well as the audiences I'm sure!

Peter Pan had every opportunity to be something I'd thoroughly enjoy but unfortunately for me, it's disappointing that this pantomime just wasn't to my fancy. I probably would recommend this pantomime if you want to try something different but I'm a sucker for a traditional pantomime without the big showbiz names!

Peter Pan is performing at Nottingham Theatre Royal until Sunday 13 January 2019. 

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