If you are looking for a funny, family-friendly panto then look no further as Peter Pan at Waterside is all you need to keep you laughing throughout the festive season. JM Barrie’s famous book has been adapted to make this wonderful story into a show for all ages. It is the classic tale of Wendy and her two brothers John and Michael who go on an adventure to Neverland with Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up.
Peter is played by Jessica Punch and she is the perfect Peter. She doesn’t know what a kiss is and she wants Wendy to be the lost boy’s mother. Jessica is good fun and great at interacting with the audience and the most important thing for playing Peter; she can fly! She flies right above our heads. It’s amazing. Wendy is played by Rosie Needham and she is the innocent and sweet girl who likes Peter and I mean really likes him. Rosie is fantastic in the role providing balance from Peter’s wild ways. Peter Pan takes Wendy, John and Michael to Neverland to meet the Lost Boys. Tinkerbell is Peter’s fairy. He says it as if everyone has a fairy and I wish I did but maybe not like Tink as she is a bit naughty. Tink is played by Holly Atterton and she is truly a brilliant Tinkerbell. She has the right balance of fun and naughty. It’s the best Tinkerbell I have ever seen performed and to top it Holly is on roller skates for all her time on stage. Peter Pan’s nemesis is Captain Hook and played by the very talented John Michie, John gives Hook the menace that Hook needs along with a gravitas that makes him a seriously scary baddie. John is everything you want in a baddie so get ready to Boo loudly!
Of course, the real reason to visit Waterside panto every year is the two regulars who are such a draw that they alone are worth the ticket money. I am, of course, talking about La Voix and Andy Collins. This year, Andy plays Smee and is hysterically funny. I do feel a bit sorry for him when the audience know to throw the toilet rolls around during the Twelve Days of Christmas song. They have him running around all over the place and yet he gets his revenge when he gets his water gun out and squirts the audience with water. I actually put up my umbrella this year as he was flying above our heads. Its such fun! La Voix is simply the best drag ever. I almost feel it’s a disservice to say she is a drag queen as she does it so well. This is no butch man in a dress. Oh no! If you have not seen her then you absolutely must; her dry wit and put down remarks (I can see Dorothy Perkins has had a rush on, look at you all?!) are just wonderfully delivered and so funny. I joked with her afterwards that my coat wasn’t from Primark – oh how we laughed. La Voix is stylish and glamorous and very funny. Her and Andy bring a magic to the stage together when they interact. There is a scene early on when Andy is playing an Amazon delivery man. La Voix asks where her delivery of pots and pans are. Andy asks what they are for and La Voix gives the best ever answer. ‘Well if you don’t know after four years of working together!’ (of course, the pots are for the Twelve days of Christmas song). Its just perfect. I loved how La Voix also acknowledges she is playing three different roles and further in the story is Mrs Smee, she jokes that Andy (playing Smee) that she is his mother even though he is probably older than her. I hope they continue to work together for years to come. They are a joy to watch.
Choreography throughout the show was excellent and all the cast gave great performances. There really is no reason not to go…even Wendover gets a mention! This is a fantastic family panto which will have you all laughing and wishing you could see it all over again. Peter Pan is on at Waterside Theatre until 31 December 2018.