Reviewed by Amanda Hayes
If you want a fun theatre trip out for all ages head along to the Assembly Hall Theatre in Tunbridge Wells where Peter Pan is on stage, twice a day, right up to the 5th January 2020.
The story starts in Wendy’s bedroom as Mr & Mrs Darling come to remove Nana the super cute dog from their bedroom and remind them to clean their teeth before sleeping. As Wendy tells her brothers Michael and John about her dreams they fall asleep. Soon afterwards Peter Pan arrives in the bedroom trying to find his shadow having lost it on a previous visit. Wendy wakes up and sees him and Tinkerbell, Peter’s fairy who convinces her and her brothers they can fly. With a sprinkle of fairy dust the story starts in earnest as they fly off to Neverland.
Peter Pan is expertly played by Lloyd Warbey, (Art Attack), and Holly Atterton from Nickelodeon plays the naughty fairy Tinkerbell. As they land in Neverland they are greeted by the Lost boys (All The Arts Theatre School, Associates & Deborah Lamb Theatre School). The boys gave brilliant performances to a very full theatre really showcasing their talent as young performers.
Quinn Patrick delights once again as Smee, the one liners maybe don’t come as thick and fast as previous years but there is still plenty to laugh about as Quinn is just the perfect pantomime Dame.
Paul Bradley (Eastenders and Holby) plays a fantastic bad guy as Captain Hook, and the fearsome crocodile is just fabulous. The rest of the cast is superb with Wendy (Jenny Huxley-Golden) and Mrs Darling/Mermaid (Sarah Jane Buckley) having excellent singing voices. Tiger Lily and the Indians entertain throughout with plenty of singing and dance scenes.
The scenery is excellent and with a plethora of set changes and costume changes the pantomime is really fast moving, great to keep children interested. The special effects are really good with Peter Pan flying across the stage in several scenes together with plenty of light affects give a stunning and festive atmosphere.
The traditional Peter Pan story continues with singing, dancing, jokes and audience participation with a lot of the songs current pop songs adapted to fit the story. In between set changes Smee entertained with an audience sing along, getting everyone up out of their seats and the tradition of bringing up two children from the audience to join in. You could see in their faces that it really made their day.
One highlight of the afternoon for our six-year-old were the comedy acrobats The Nitwits who, as the pirate crew, did a fantastic humorous routine of somersaults and tumbling stunts. In fact, there were many highlights so I recommend you try and get tickets for Peter Pan if you can. The Assembly Hall Theatre has easy access for wheelchairs and a lift for the less mobile together with a ground floor bar and parking right next door which together make for a great afternoon or evening out for all of the family. One thing to note is the performance is quite long, although it doesn’t feel like it, so younger children would be best suited to a lunchtime performance.
Tickets cost from £15.75 to £22.25 (booking fees may apply).
Peter Pan is at the Assembly Hall Theatre in Tunbridge Wells from 7 December 2019 to 5 January 2020, for more information or to book tickets visit www.assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk or call the box office on 01892 530613.
Assembly Hall Theatre, Crescent Rd, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN1 2LU | 01892 530613