Jonathan Kiley’s handling of JM Barrie’s original scenario is managed with an admirable degree of sensitivity, the songs are bland and tuneful and the handsome young company is consistently vibrant, with swiftly-paced choreography, which adds up to an evening that is never allowed to drag.
At this time of year, audiences expect stage glamour with a touch of magic and at Wolverhampton they will not be disappointed.
Thus, Ian Westbrook’s settings work very well within panto’s raffish dimension and Neverland looks fine, although occasionally it is difficult to determine exactly where a scene is happening.
And why the final reconciliation of the Darling family should have been moved to the roof of their house must remain one of panto’s mysteries.
Paul Nicholas (working under the constraints of a throat virus) is generally a cosy Captain Hook, but does not erode the memory of Ron Moody a couple of years ago, giving Hook a historical dimension that was marvellous.
Elsewhere, Jack Montgomery as a serious Peter Pa’n is splendid, Rochelle Neil is a delightfully militant Tiger Lily and the Krankies, who are ageless, prove they deserve to be top of the bill, if only for the celebrated ventriloquist sequence and the naughty Amy Winehouse send-up.