Peter Pan review at the Anvil, Basingstoke – ‘spectacular pyrotechnics’
This is the 10th time that Gary Turner has donned the hook of Peter Pan’s arch nemesis for UK Productions and at least the third time he’s played him in Basingstoke.
He knows how to get the crowd hissing and booing from the off while director Andrew Agnew’s soft-hearted Smee provides a perfect foil for him, constantly on the move with a never-ending stream of corny jokes.
They are supported by a seasoned cast of performers, many of them like Jessica Punch (an athletic Peter Pan) and Sarah Louise Day (prim Mrs Darling and flirty Mermaid) returning to Neverland from previous Peter Pans. Helen Petrovna’s minx of a Tinker Bell is all fluid action on roller-skates and Jenny Huxley-Golden is a winsome Wendy.
Even without the acrobatics of the Nitwits as Hook’s pirate crew, and the high-flying antics of Punch, whose flights above the audience are breath-taking, it’s one of the most pyrotechnically spectacular and high energy pantos I’ve seen.
But Julian Lane’s script remains faithful to the story and we get the lot – fairy dust and flights across London plus Indians, pirates and Lost Boys, their numbers bolstered by local children from dance and stage schools.
Sit near the front and you might be deafened by the music or soaked by the water pistols of Hook and Smee, but it’s a small price to pay for what is a thoroughly entertaining take on JM Barrie’s classic.