Slipping on ice on the morning of the opening, Joanne Shields missed the matinee - her dual roles of Mrs Darling and Miranda, Queen of the Mermaids were played by an understudy - but was onstage and fully in character for the first night.
Displaying no sign of pain from her fractured left wrist, but with her arm in plaster, she allowed herself one in-joke - that she, too, could use the healing seaweed balm prescribed for Peter’s sword wound.
John Challis, appearing in Middlesbrough for the first time, gives a resounding performance as a ferocious Captain Hook and blustering alter ego Mr Darling, his super-charged sneering rewarded by maximum response from children in the audience.
Early scenes with dialogue need lifting, but the chimney sweep dance set to cockney songs has great pace and style, as does all the choreography, variously featuring Red Indians, pirates and mermaids, all beautifully costumed.
The script is perfectly pitched for children, with realistic acting from Jack Lane, as Peter Pan, and Kelly Bibb, as Wendy, not least while gracefully flitting about on wires. Scott Gallagher, as Mr Smee with an expanding parrot, is a comical foil to Captain Hook. Amy Burrows makes a jealously impudent Tinkerbell.