Peter Pan all set to fly into Haverhill Arts Centre

Steven Roach (Passing Water) and some of the other cast members in Peter Pan, in rehearsals ANL-150113-093935005
Steven Roach (Passing Water) and some of the other cast members in Peter Pan, in rehearsals ANL-150113-093935005

Four years after saying he would never direct another Centre Stage Company panto, David Hart has been lured back by the appeal of their latest seasonal offering, Peter Pan.

David had directed all the company’s pantos, from their first (Treasure Island) in 2001 to the 2010 production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, at which point he decided no more pantos - until now.

He explained: “I said I was never going to do another panto. Having done ten I had had enough of them, but I said if you ever do Peter Pan I would like to do it.”

What attracted him back is the timeless tale about a little boy who can fly but never grows up.

Based on JM Barrie’s original story but adapted by Centre Stage Company’s Becca Neal and Denise Harris, Peter Pan stars James Malone in the lead role.

Billie Allen takes the role of Wendy Darling, who Peter teaches to fly and takes to Neverland, where they embark on a series of adventures, including tussles with Captain Hook (Paul Gardiner) and his band of pirates.

Peter’s great ally Tinker Bell is played by Becky Stolworthy, most recent seen in Footloose.

The cast also includes the obligatory panto dame, Passing Water, the chief of the Indians, a role filled by Steven Roach and two bumbling idiots, Smee and Sue, played by Steve Powter and Jacob Simmons.

A number of crowd-pleasing songs are thrown into the mix, including Greatest Day and Never Forget by Take That and Elton John’s Crocodile Rock.

On his return to the panto fold, David said: “I have quite enjoyed it.

“It’s a great story and it’s going to be a great show, I am sure.

“It’s slightly more serious than your average pantomime.

“It’s not quite like some that are more obviously pantos but it’s a bit more wistful because it’s about growing up.

“I think there is a lot in this that children will like.”

Performances take place at Haverhill Arts Centre at 1pm and 4.30pm on Saturday, January 24, 1pm on Sunday 25, 7pm on Thursday 29, 7pm on Friday 30 and 3pm and 7pm on Saturday 31.

Tickets, which are selling fast, are available from the arts centre box office on 01440 714140.