This Peter Pan is capable of converting the worst panto-phobe. Scriptwriter Julian Lane and director Andrew Margerison have almost completely separated storytelling from the obligatory silliness, with the panto foolery inserted as interludes between scenes.
Whilst this approach brings an episodic feel, it highlights the beauty and warmth of the narrative. The overall effect is like being tucked up with a great bedtime story.
Sarah-Louise Young and Marc Baylis double roles, as Mr and Mrs Darling and as Hook and the Mermaid, emphasising the dreamlike quality of the tale. The sets are naturalistic and bravely hold back on glitter, giving the whole thing a soft-focus glow.
Tim Edwards is a supremely confident Peter, supported by a sprightly Wendy from Nicola Barney and tremendous young actors as John and Michael. Dan Wright’s Smee, meanwhile, brings out his CBeebies panache in the audience interaction episodes.
There are acrobatics from a splendid band of pirates, a feisty gang of lost boys, and outstanding flying work, enhanced by inspired 3D projections. Vocal work is first rate, with well balanced music from a 3 piece pit band.
Peter Pan might not be the most festive of stories, but this lovingly crafted show epitomises what Christmas is about.