This is an assured and entertaining Christmas show, proving that pantomime works when done properly.
Jennifer Ellison in the title role is petite and impish and a strong actor and singer, confidently contending with the physical demands of the part. Altogether, this is an accomplished cast where everyone pulls their weight.
Gemma Hunt is a cheeky, rollerskating Tinkerbell, while Joanna Forest (Wendy) combines childlike innocence with feistiness. Younger brothers John and Michael, played by Cameron Divers and Kyle Stevens, are believable characters who fly with confidence.
The flying shows off the venue’s technical capacities and taking Ellison over the audience, scattering glitter as she goes, is a lovely touch. Moving video projections showing the view over London and the appearance of Peter’s shadow add a modern element.
The family is completed by Amy Scott as the mother and a bubbly Mermaid, while Ace Bhatti shines as Captain Hook. Simpering and sly, Bhatti is just right as a pantomime villain. Emma Jewell takes on the role of Nana with impressive realism, despite the rather tired-looking costume that is strangely often produced for this role.
Balamory’s Andrew Agnew is clearly at home in pantomime and as Smee he bonds well with the audience. Well done, too, to the Nitwits acrobatic trio.
Churchill, Bromley, November 30-January 6
- JM Barrie (novel)
- Alison Pollard
- Martin Dodd, UK Productions
- Cast includes
- Jennifer Ellison, Joanna Forest, Ace Bhatti, Andrew Agnew, Amy Scott, Gemma Hunt
- Running time
- 2hrs 45mins