American professional ballroom dancer Brian Fortuna joins a cast of Theatre Royal regulars for this transformed panto version of JM Barrie’s classic tale. As the story takes precedence in Chantelle Nolan’s slick production, Fortuna’s Peter Pan gets few chances to let rip and burn the floor. But he does achieve plenty of aerial lift-off, swooping through windows and whisking away the Darling kids on an awfully big adventure.
Similarly there are no magic tricks from Blackpool illusionist Richard de Vere, though his ferociously fruity Captain Hook conjures up booing powerful enough to top the Richter scale, aided by Nick Cochrane and Marc Lawlor as nautical sidekicks and thwarted by Claire Simonsen’s cheeky Tinkerbell.
Simon Foster’s dame - a matronly Indian squaw wearing Harry Potter specs - also develops good rapport with a young audience.
Pre-recorded backing tracks tend to take away from the live theatre experience. And while the song choice is fairly uninspiring, Leah Murphy’s Wendy and Charlie Griffiths’ Tiger Lily both deliver vocally uplifting solos.
Sets, front cloths and costumes are colourful enough. But it’s the cheery cast who bring brightness to Neverland, where Sarah Walker’s nifty choreography eventually gets Fortuna and the entire company grooving at the curtain call.