Peter Pan ~ Wolverhampton Grand Theatre

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“To Me, To You” is undoubtedly a catchphrase associated with children’s entertainers, The Chuckle Brothers and upon hearing that they were headlining in the pantomime at Wolverhampton’s Grand Theatre, this Christmas, the expectation was high.

My expectations were met and the fact that this spectacular family show also managed to capture and for the most part, keep the attention of a child who is not yet 2 years of age, is testament to the pantomime that QDOS has produced. Magical scenery which seamlessly changed together with a variety of catchy musical numbers, (notably Rather Be), make a winning combination to be proud of. The chorus are the lynchpin, in my opinion and an excellent team have been put together, the choreography was slick and struck the right balance.

Ross Carpenter is a quirky and chirpy Peter Pan, Hannah Nicholas plays opposite him as Wendy and displays beautiful vocal ability. Joining them with equally stunning vocal ability, as a very appealing Tinkerbell (her appearance inspired a fellow adult male audience member to shout “I BELIEVE!”) – is Lucy Evans. With Eastenders star John Altman (Nasty Nick Cotton) playing another villain, Captain Hook, the cast is formidable indeed. Stealing the show with hilarious audience participation and the perfect comedy duo (naturally), The Chuckle Brothers of course. They took the helm of the pantomime and steered it into traditional ‘waters’. After years in ‘the business’, they haven’t lost their ability to entertain a variety of age groups and long may they continue to do so.

The piece de resistance was the pirate ship, a splendid vessel indeed, which captured the imagination of the youngest member of our party! Large-scale pantomimes are QDOS’s speciality and Peter Pan is no exception.

Tickets can be booked via this link: http://www.grandtheatre.co.uk/whats-on/panto must end on Sunday 24th January 2016.

You’ll be sorry if you miss it…. oh yes you will!

 

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Wendy and Peter Pan ~ RSC, Stratford

Wendy _ Peter Pan production photos_ 2015_2015_Photo by Manuel Harlan _c_ RSC_179189Wendy _ Peter Pan production photos_ 2015_2015_Photo by Manuel Harlan _c_ RSC_179294

Atmospheric before the play itself had begun, Wendy and Peter Pan at the RSC in Stratford has to be one of the most stunningly effective and pristinely performed pieces I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing, this year.

Knowledge of the tale was not necessarily required, as Ella Hickson’s eloquent writing tells a thorough story. Perfectly cast with Mariah Gale and Rhys Rusbatch in the title roles and RSC Associate Artist Darrell D’Silva as Hook.

The scene was set in the beautifully ornate nursery where the interaction between the four Darling children (with Sam Clemmett as Tom, James Corrigan as John and Jordan Metcalfe as Michael completing the line up with their sister) opened the production in spectacular style. Completing the family unit were Rebecca Johnson and Patrick Toomey as their parents. The picture window provided a magical backdrop for Peter Pan’s dramatic entrance, aided and abetted by his many shadows who displayed precise choreographed movement.

The set moved to accommodate the journey that the children ultimately took with Pan, the alternation was so spot on it was hardly noticeable. Neverland was the stuff that dreams are made of, the lost boys were a zany mixed bag of personalities who complemented each other superbly. Then there’s the tremendous performance put in by Charlotte Mills a rather bawdy but thoroughly loveable Tink!

Peter Pan’s den emerged delightfully from beneath the stage, this theatre’s stage lends itself to this degree of technicality and it made such an impact. The visual effects, including flying and fights between pirates and lost boys which exuded sheer energy. Notable about Rusbatch’s performance was the exuberance he maintained throughout, in stark contrast to the dark yet comedic character that D’Silva out across as Hook.

The pirates in Hook’s gang were all excellent as individuals as well as a gaggle, David Langham played Knock Bone Jones and portrayed hilarious stark contrast to star of ITV’s Benidorm’s Adam Gillen who played a disillusioned Martin. Of course the pirate ship was a joy to behold and the crowing glory.

The RSC have a Christmas show to be proud of, heart-warming, heart-breaking and incredibly touching while sustaining an edge of wonder throughout.

It’s on until 31st January, for details and to book tickets, follow this link: https://www.rsc.org.uk/wendy-and-peter-pan/tickets/

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