Peter Pan review at Theatre Royal, Plymouth – ‘slick choreography’

Joelle Dyson (centre) in Peter Pan at Theatre Royal Plymouth. Photo: Alastair Muir

Steve McFadden clearly relishes his role as the evil Captain Hook. There is a brief nod to Eastenders, but otherwise this Qdos production steers clear of recurring soap references.

But it’s the engaging antics of Andy Ford as Hook’s righthand man, Smee, that really captivate the audience. Ford’s mild-mannered pirate gets a lot of amusing mileage out of the West Country vernacular, referring to his acquaintances warmly as “my luvver”. Ford’s performance is a comic gem.

The often neglected art of ventriloquism gets a refreshing airing by Dawson Chance, as the affable pirate Starkey. His snoring turtle Weary Willie and his dog Piddling Pete help him work his irreverent magic leading to the inevitable “willie” jokes and plenty of excuses to spray the audience with water.

Joe Sleight is suitably vibrant as the eternally youthful Peter Pan. He plays the role with real conviction. There is also some  impressive swordplay as Hook swashbuckles with his arch enemy Peter Pan.

Pyrotechnics bring added pizzazz to the performance as does a mighty crocodile slithering intimidatingly towards the auditorium.

Slick, contemporary choreography by director Barbara Evans accompanies the musical numbers, while lavish, atmospheric sets bring Neverland, Peter’s hideout and the deck of the Jolly Roger to life.

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Lively, lavish pantomime full of spirited performances