Friday 20 December 2019

It's Panto Season! Discover Peter Pan at Mayflower Theatre

The festivities are in full swing and with panto season upon us, it was time to head to the Mayflower Theatre for this year's pantomime. The Qdos Entertainment Production of Peter Pan which will be gracing the stage in Southampton until January 5th so there's still plenty of time to book tickets. 

Peter Pan features a whole host of familiar faces including Marti Pellow, Darren Day and The Grumbleweeds so you're sure to recognise some faces. It's fun and frolics with a few questionable skits from beginning to end and I'm sure lots of adults will enjoy it just as much as the children.

JM Barrie's family favourite is known by audiences worldwide but for me, it kinda missed the mark. The story of Peter Pan is something I'm sure we are all familiar with, Peter Pan is the boy that doesn't want to grow up. It's a classic fairytale of adventure, pirates and childhood dreams and we follow his adventures to Neverland after he whisks away Wendy Darling and her brothers to a mystical land filled with mermaids, fairies and the fearsome Captain Hook. 

First off, the production was incredible! From beautiful sets and flying motorbikes to Tiger Lily's forest home and a huge, quite terrifying crocodile - it was a feast for eyes. The lighting just added so much atmosphere to the show and we were taken from scene to scene so seamlessly. 

You could feel the excitement in the audience with each scene change because it was just done so perfectly!

I was really excited for the cast, Marti Pellow of Wet Wet Wet fame was the lead this year as Captain Hook and I must say, he made a pretty handsome Hook, I couldn't bring myself to boo him off the stage.

And that voice... HELLO! 

His solo on the ship as it begins to sail towards the audience was fabulous and one of my highlights. For me though, Darren Day totally carried the show which was equal parts impressive and disappointing. He was brilliant as Smee and it felt like he never left the stage, he must've been knackered by the end. He kept it going with hilarious comments, witty quips and a couple of slip-ups that just added to the overall show. He was just quite loveable which surprised me but he totally deserves his paycheque and an added bonus.

Peter Pan was played by Union J’s Jaymi Hensley who had the right amount of boyish charm, Cassie Compton was our Wendy Darling and Micha Richardson played a foxy Tiger Lily. I quite enjoyed Kellie Gnauck as Tinkerbell with her Love Island references but it would've been great to see her as less airhead more independent fairy. 

The Grumbleweeds are a weird one for me as there seemed to be no point to them which sounds awful. I just didn't enjoy them and a lot of what they said made me feel a bit uncomfortable. 

To be honest, there were a few uncomfortable moments. I cannot understand why anyone thought the use of an R Kelly song during the flying motorbike scene was a good idea when we're all very much aware of the ongoing investigation - it was quite inappropriate. 

Another song that was used was Ariana Grande's One Last Time, a song that many, myself including associate with the Manchester Bombings of 2017 and the One Love Manchester concert. It just felt quite distasteful and upsetting. 

One part I honestly did enjoy was Tiger Lily and her Tribe. The scenes really brought the show to life for me and the set and music were just magical. The appearances from The Timbuktu Tumblers as The Neverlanders just made the show for me. 

They're an acrobatics group from Kenya who have spent the last eleven years performing with Zippos Circus and Cirque Berserk recently becoming firm panto favourites. Their skill and stage presence was just jawdropping and I would've quite happily just sat through a show by The Timbuktu Tumblers instead. 

My only gripe with Tiger Lily and her tribe were the costumes. Just as Cara mentioned in her review of Peter Pan, the fantasy land could've been dressed in anything but using Native American costumes just didn't sit right. 

I like my pantos funny, not with cultural appropriation. 

Peter Pan for me was a Peter No - which is so disappointing but you can't please everyone right? 

Sometimes cute crocodiles in tutus just can't make up for poor song choices, rubbish Brexit jokes and one too many "be my mummy" moments from Peter Pan.

Peter Pan is at Mayflower Theatre until the 5th January 2020 - you can order tickets online. 

Press tickets for the purpose of review - see disclaimer.
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