David Hasselhoff in Peter Pan at Cardiff’s New Theatre review – ‘crowd-pleasing’
David Hasselhoff debuted his Captain ‘Hoff the Hook’ in 2010 at the New Wimbledon Theatre. Since then, he’s performed the role in Bristol, Manchester, Nottingham, Southend and Glasgow. This year, it’s the turn of Cardiff to get a seasonal dose of the Hoffmeister.
The former Baywatch star is certainly the main draw of an otherwise conventional pantomime. Its commitment to the narrative of Peter Pan is loose, preferring instead a series of comedy sketches, musical theatre numbers and sing-a-long interludes.
Opposite Hasselhoff is Mike Doyle as Mrs Smee. While his catchphrase is nothing more than his own name repeated back by the audience, he gets a lot of laughs and is genuinely kind when two young audience members come up on stage to sing a song from Angry Birds.
Despite including modern material, elements of this show – Tiger Lily (Natalie Winsor) and the Native Americans in particular – see to come straight from the 1950s and could do with a rewrite.
Throughout the enthusiastically performed show the cast shines most in the musical numbers – Stephanie Webber, Julie Cullen and Emma Prosser all have stand-out vocals.
The strength of this panto is the connection to its location. A collection of jokes linked to Wales are among the best received, and Doyle’s reading of a list of birthdays is highly endearing. We’re even told that Hasselhoff himself has taken a shine to the festive Welsh capital.