It’s quite a challenge to be original in a pantomime and to please the traditionalists at the same time. But this cleverly scripted Peter Pan manages to follow Barrie’s original play pretty closely while also - praise be - giving us some new-ish jokes: someone wants a new artificial leg for Christmas as a stocking filler, an obsessive biker needs to see a cycle-trist and there’s a groan-inducing Pan pun sequence - dead-pan, bed pan and the like.
The scene in which the audience pelts and defeats Hook, played by Michael Greco, with ‘cannon’ balls while the band, ably led by Andrew Sullivan, strikes up the 1812 overture was good fun. So were two mermaids, played by Kate Burrell and Rachel Lane, incongruously belying their ethereal appearance with the coarsest possible gor-blimey glottal-stopped language and raucous laughter.
Greco is a fairly sexy Hook but he doesn’t convince me he’s an Etonian and he’s wooden as Mr Darling. Jane Deane’s Lancastrian Tinkerbell is glitzy, pink and in-your-face. And her circus skills are a real bonus. As Pan, Claire Huckle has steady stage presence and she sings well - even while flying. Lindsay Harding gives us a clear-voiced, suitably motherly Wendy, although it’s a pity she is positioned where she can’t see the band leader (or fails to look) for her Rule Britannia number.
I was less happy with Paul Burrell as Smee. Skilled impressionist he may be but his efforts fall flat with most of the audience most of the time and his style very quickly begins to grate.