Reece Sibbald, based on Peter Pan by JM Barrie
St Helens Theatre Royal
April 2 -18, 2022
Get ready to buckle those swashes in true panto style, as Peter Pan flies into the St Helens Theatre Royal for a glitter-filled Easter family treat.
Regal Entertainments continues its tradition of school holiday pantomimes with a lavish production that is packed with puns, pirates and pop songs - as well as some very effective projections in the charming flying scenes.
Directed by Chantelle Nolan with a script by Reece Sibbald (who also plays Smee) the show is a mix of JM Barrie's traditional tale of the boy who never grew up, but with all the panto silliness and sparkle you'd expect.
It's very well cast. Sibbald returns as Smee and is a clear audience favourite. David Phipps-Davis is a dream of a Dame in the role of Mrs Smee. The double act between Sibbald and Phipps-Davis is a real highlight of the show. And while the corpsing is probably staged, who cares when it's this much fun?
I won't give too much away, but Mrs Smee's chicken-themed take on ABBA's Fernando is a total showstopper and my seven-year-old son's favourite bit of the show.
Likeable Scott Gallagher has great fun playing against type as baddie Captain Hook - but when you're this good at being bad, perhaps more villainous roles should be in the comic's future. He hams it up with glee and has lots of fun with his audience interaction.
Former West End child star and TV talent show finalist Harrison Vaughan (Matilda the Musical, The Greatest Dancer) is a nicely-earnest Peter Pan, showing off impressive dance skills and vocals.
And the trio of Hayley Russell (Tinker Bell), Lauren McCrory (Wendy) and Mia Molloy (Tiger Lily) all have fun and showcase warmth and humour in their supporting roles.
The songs are great, especially the opening reworking of Nativity's Nazareth (changed to "Neverland") and the gorgeous Act 1 closer You Will Be Found from musical Dear Evan Hansen, which Vaughan clearly relishes performing.
It's also lovely to see the return of the juvenile performers, here playing the Lost Children as well as performing some sweet ballet scenes.
The show was certainly a big hit with my three young guests, who were bopping along at the finale, waving their plastic flashy wands in the air without a care in the world. Which for me is exactly what is so lovely to see at pantos. Highly recommended.
Info and tickets here