It’s time to head to the second star on the right and straight on ’til morning as Royal & Derngate are taking audiences to Neverland in their uplifting, hilarious and magical pantomime of Peter Pan – the classic tale of the boy who never grew up, his adventures with Wendy, Michael and John, and Captain Hook.
Peter Pan will always be one of my favourite pantomimes, so I had high expectations on what was to come. It’s been a while since I watched a pantomime and I have definitely grown up a lot since my trip to the theatre to see one; but I was hoping Peter Pan would make me feel like a kid all over again.
The story jumps straight into the nursery where Wendy, John and Michael meet Peter Pan for the first time. The sparky, excitable musical number opened show brilliantly and showcased the wonderful mechanics behind the flying that were hardly noticeable thanks to all the action happening on stage.
The set was incredibly well crafted, and moved seamlessly between the scenes; whether it was in the nursery, in the lost boys’ hut, or even on the pirate ship, the stage was lifted in a rainbow of colour. It’s probably the most colourful pantomime you will ever see in Northampton! With the help of music and effective lighting, it was always clear which character was due on stage and what the mood of the scene was.
One of the highlights of the show for me was the clever use of all the musical numbers. Each song matched the mood of the scenes incredibly well – my musical theatre heart sang with joy at the sound of Mimi the Mermaid (Rachel Wooding) singing Fabulous, Baby from Sister Act The Musical and I loved that they included a rendition of Come Alive from The Greatest Showman. Another favourite musical number of mine was Tiger Lily’s (Nadia Kramer), version of a Jess Glynne’s Rather Be, with lyrics that were cleverly re-written. Nadia performed it with such class, girl power and pure sass!
Joe Sleight was THE perfect Peter Pan, despite my first initial shock that he was played by a grown man (traditionally, Peter Pan is played by a young boy or woman) but his boyish charm, enthusiastic nature and ability to play like a kid won me over.
Wendy (the very talented Millie Davies) was the perfect storybook character – it was a shame she didn’t have much stage time, however, her performance with Tinkerbell (Abigail Dever) and Tiger Lily – an epic quartet ballad of “The Voice Within” – perfectly made up for it. But Davies’ talent playing my favourite character in the story was one I won’t be forgetting. Abigail Dever as Tinkerbell was a pure delight to watch – my face beamed when I saw her glide on stage for the first time in her golden skates, to mimic flying.
Flawless, best known for being on Britain’s Got Talent, brought a 21st century modern twist to this classic tale. They brought the house down with their epic dance moves, and every move was literally… well, flawless!
Captain Hook (Darren Day) and his cockney accent worked for his pirate physique and character – however, he looked far too clean and lacked a beard for my liking, but despite this, he’s got the stage presence and banter for all – especially his references to Northampton!
The pirate chorus complemented Hook well, making them the ideal pirate gang. However, I couldn’t help but think the female pirate dancers were a bit too risque for a family friendly pantomime – as I found their dancing a bit too provocative at times. Apart from this, I can’t deny the talent on stage from the various dancers.
I had never heard of The Grumbleweeds before, but I certainly won’t forget them! They broke the pantomime up nicely with their slapstick humour, which made me cry with laughter – especially the ship in a bottle joke (you had to be there!)
The adult jokes throughout were hilarious and were appropriate enough for adults to laugh and kids to laugh at too even though they didn’t understand! But of course, there was plenty of jokes for the kids too.
It’s magical, it’s hilarious, it’s crude at times but mostly, it’s a family favourite pantomime of a story that has been told for generations – never lose faith, trust and pixie dust!
No matter whether you’re young, old or feel like you are growing up too quickly, you will be dazzled and entertained by this one big adventure right here in Northampton this Christmas.
Nicole is a Lifestyle, Food and Travel blogger at Nicole Navigates based in Northamptonshire who also loves everything theatre and stagey related. She also founded the Northamptonshire Bloggers Network and loves showcasing everything good in the county. Usually found with coffee.