Its Panto season and what could be more Christmassy than going to see a local show. Peter Pan is currently showing at the Chrysalis Theatre in Milton Keynes and is full of family fun.
We all know the story of how Peter meets Wendy during a rainy night in London. He flies in and introduces himself and then takes Wendy and her brothers to Neverland on an adventure they will never forget. The panto opens with a tap version of Singing In The Rain and we are introduced to Tink, but we don’t realise that its Tink at this point. Soon we are in Neverland and realise that not everyone is nice there. That horrid Captain Hook is a nasty man who wants to get revenge on Peter Pan. Luckily, Hook has a crew who are not so nasty. Mr Smee, Starkey, Nancy and her dog named Fish, and not forgetting the legendary Mr Blobby. It’s a motley crew but they have heart.
Mr Smee played by Steve Hewlett and he was hilarious. Steve is a veteran on stage and his gentle manner is juxtaposition with his grandpa puppet who is a bit ‘in your face’. This makes us love Steve all the more. Steve was forth in Britain’s Got Talent a few years back and it is very clear that Steve has talent. Ventriloquism is a skill, but when you add in the on-going jokes about one good hand and how he can’t go anywhere without grandpa it takes it to another level. There are some wonderful moments in this show. I absolutely adored the magic trick that Starkey does with what should be a bandana but only has a banana. Starkey is played by Kev Stevens and he has funny in his bones. My son who was watching with me felt he honed his inner Lee Evans. That’s a huge compliment in my book. The show also stars the legendary Mr Blobby who is funny just by saying ‘Blobby’. I don’t know why but it just is. I was so excited to meet Mr Blobby after the show that I asked for a photo and forgot to give my son my phone to take it. This had Mr Blobby putting his head in his hands and shaking his head. What can I say? He is a legend.
Peter Pan is played by Lucy Rose Rollason. Lucy is fantastic. Not only can she sing; she can sing while flying! Lucy seems a natural at Panto and engages with the audience well. One of the best Peter’s I have ever seen. Wendy is played by Cara Bo and what a star she is with a lovely voice. I loved the end of act one when she starts off ‘Can’t Stop The Beat’. Peter’s nemesis is Captain Hook played by CJ De Mooi and he is quite intimidating. I am sure small children in the audience were scared of him which means he is doing his job well. He is great fun to boo at too. Mrs Smee is the traditional drag mum played by Luke Byeford. With his northern accent and outrageous outfits (which he told me he got at Oxfam!), he never breaks character even when I spoke to him after the show. He totally embodies Mrs Smee and you know he is going to be funny. Katie Phizacklea plays Tinkerbell. She is beautiful and kind and the nicest Tink I have ever seen.
This is fun-filled family frolics for the whole family. Try saying that fast. I love a good panto and this certainly has all the elements to start off the festive season. Peter Pan is playing at the Chrysalis Theatre until 2 January 2022.