Peter Pan review at Theatre Royal, Newcastle – ‘glorious fun’
Clive Webb and Danny Adams own the Theatre Royal’s Peter Pan. Returning to the theatre for the 13th consecutive year, the father and son double act keep the comedy flowing, with Adams’ daft-boy persona given even more of a work out this year as Peter Pan, while Webb takes on the role of Smee.
The resulting show is an exercise in true variety. Regular dame Chris Hayward is imperious, gorgeously frocked and in full saucy voice as Mrs Smee. The Timbuktu Tumblers provide a fiery acrobatic routine as the Neverlanders and Sascha Williams and Stephanie Nock add real danger in a high-balancing teeter board routine.
The production is glorious fun, with plenty of audience participation. The requisite pop hits are well re-worded, local references are woven into the fabric of the piece with skill, and there’s a magic escape act from Adams – whose flying is beautifully acrobatic. The crocodile is pleasingly huge, Laura Evans makes a sharp Tinkerbell while Julie Cullen’s sappy Wendy gets a love interest in the form of Wayne Smith as Tiger Billy.
Adams’ strength as a performer does make this a lopsided venture at times. Wendy feels sidelined and with no Tiger Lily, Tinkerbell is the strongest female presence on stage. Though several steps away from Barrie’s original and lacking much in the way of redemption or political satire, it’s still an awfully big adventure.