There’s a reason pantomime will never lose its charm - and I believe that’s because it appeals to anyone, at any age. Tonight’s show was no different! From the set design, to the sound system, to the special effects, everything about the production was vibrant, captivating and uplifting. Which is exactly what we need in these strange times. The Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan did just that.
Jonny Wilkes as Smee was the real star of the show, but Hook and Tinkerbell were flawless, executing perfectly-timed gags time after time and building a real rapport with the audience. Whilst supporting the second horse in a two horse local football supporting race, Wilkes has a natural rapport with the audience - and whilst many of the puns and japes have been done for years, it's akin to welcoming a relative back into your home at Christmas after a year away. Whilst society and life is changing at a rapid rate, it's reassuring that when you watch Jonny Wilkes and Co in action that you'll be getting a guaranteed cracking night out.
Notable scenes included the dancing Ant and Dec crocodiles, Hook continuously losing his wig, Smee being shrunk, and the mermaid sketch, complete with Smee and Hook donned in mermaid costumes with talking bosoms (yes, you read that correctly). And of course, who could forget Hook being eaten by a giant animatronic crocodile at the front of the stage or the crowd being squirted by a giggling, water gun-brandishing Smee and Hook? Curiously, Peter Pan was a little bit in the background at times, but had enough charisma and warmth to engage the audience, whilst the ensemble were effortless; with well-timed performances and plenty of enthusiasm.
The only thing they get wrong is continuing to say "Me ducks". We are Stoke, not Derby.
Once again, this was a festive feast for the senses, with cheerful tunes, an easy-to-follow storyline., and a great cast. There were enough songs, pranks and jokes to appeal to the younger audience members - but also plenty of puns and innuendos for older audience members to snigger at, too. The Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan will take your whole family on a swashbuckling trip to Neverland, before you walk out into the crisp night ST4 air.