I must start with a confession…up until Thursday 15th December 2016, it had been more than 20 years since I had been to see a pantomime, so I was hesitant in what to expect when I was asked along to the press night of Peter Pan at The Churchill Theatre, Bromley. Pantomimes can often fill people with dread and fear about what to expect but I thoroughly enjoyed the entire night and with plenty of gags and laughs – it was the perfect night out and a fab-u-lous way for the Christmas countdown!!
Craig Revel Horwood of Strictly Come Dancing fame plays Captain Hook and this is his third appearance in this role, which he plays fantastically well. It is evident from the first song Craig sings that he has a superb voice and commands the stage well, geeing up the audience with plenty of boos and hisses! With many references made to Strictly and his rather nasty demeanour – he plays nasty perfectly, but thats to be expected!
With an array of pyrotechnics, plenty of fight scenes and even some rock hurling from the entire audience, don’t worry, they were made of foam, Hook has a battle on his hands to try and capture Peter, whilst avoiding the clutches of the crocodile. All whilst trying to control his pirate crew, who are led by Smee, played by the lovely Paul Burling.
Paul was fantastic throughout the show and really won me over with many of his impressions including Alan Carr, Keith Lemon, Scooby Doo, Graham Norton and many more. He is a a hugely talented and naturally funny man – even meeting him later on in the evening after the show he was a genuinely nice man! Burling is a natural with the children and engages with the audience at every opportunity, with many “Oh no he isn’t…Oh yes he is”!
Also in the private crew is Starkey and his Willy (ventriloquist Dawson Chance and his puppet turtle) who provides many a innuendo for his Willy, with plenty of the adult audience members chuckling away.
Ryan Heenan plays Peter Pan and along with Wendy (Mikaela Newton) they unfortunately upset Tinkerbell (Isobel Hathaway) and this subsequently means there are a few unfortunate moments for Peter because Tinkerbell ends up drinking poison, but thanks to the audience along with Mimi the Mermaid, played by Rachel Spry – Tinkerbell is saved.
It eventually ends with Hook being catapulted with rocks from the audience (it was absolute carnage!) and he slowly loses his battle, ending with an incredible rendition of Frank Sinatras, My Way!
This is the ultimate treat for children and adults alike and is a perfect way to introduce any children to theatre and the world of musical theatre during the festive season.
Peter Pan is playing at The Churchill Theatre until 7th January 2017.