Peter Pan has everything a panto should have

Captain Hook (Paul Gardiner) forms an alliance with Tinker Bell (Becky Stolworthy) in the Centre Stage Company panto, Peter Pan ANL-150121-160959005
Captain Hook (Paul Gardiner) forms an alliance with Tinker Bell (Becky Stolworthy) in the Centre Stage Company panto, Peter Pan ANL-150121-160959005

Peter Pan

by The Centre Stage Company

A Review by Steve Barton

I walked out of Haverhill Arts Centre on Sunday (25) after watching Peter Pan with a smile on my face and a stack of funny memories from the show, which is just how it should be.

Peter Pan has the usual premise of a family panto in that the eponymous hero has to defeat the villain of the piece - Captain Hook - while a yearned for romantic attachment finally gets to be realised.

It is what happens in between those things that make a show a success or not.

Much hilarity was provided by many of the cast, largely from those you would expect to provide the mix of slapstick, innuendo and silliness that is at the core of all good pantomimes, but in this show there was plenty from other quarters too.

From the first time that Captain’s Hook’s hapless henchmen Mister Smee (Steve Powter) and Sue (Jacob Simmons) introduced themselves in the Prologue I knew the laughs would keep on coming.

And so on the jocularity went, with Steven Roach coming to the comedy party with his portrayal as the panto dame, Passing Water, or as she called herself, Big Chiefette Passing Water.

In one scene her rendition of Without You had the audience in stitches, it was so bad it became very funny.

The Lost Boys, who lived with Peter Pan in Never Land, were as hapless as Smee and Sue, minus the sinister side, and between them Emma Letcher (Nibs), Gemma Harrison (Curly) and Charlotte Allin (Tootles) provided lots of giggles.

With them was Becca Neal whose character, A Very Lost Boy, gave her the chance to showcase her experience with some fantastic comedy timing. Her rain dance in once scene will live in the memory.

The rain dance was the point where some of the children in the audience got the chance to go up on stage, join in the production and walk away with a reward. Another tradition maintained in this production.

The very talented cast all deserve praise in many different ways but two musical highlights for me were Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’ as performed by Passing Water’s daughter Tiger Lilly (Charlotte Scammerton) and Steppin’ to the Bad Side, a song taken from Dreamgirls and performed with style by Hook (Paul Gardiner) and Tinker Bell (Becky Stolworthy).

Panto can sometimes seem a little unfair on some of the cast, specifically those who play the straight roles.

Peter (the nimble-footed James Malone) and Wendy (Billie Allen) had such roles, but their talents were not diminished for it.

I must also give praise for the superb costumes, lighting, choreography and set design, things that don’t always get the mentions in a review that they can deserve.

There are still 70 tickets left for the extra performance being staged at the arts centre at 7pm on Wednesday night (28).

Call the box office on 01440 714140 if you don’t want to miss out.