Reviewed by Catherine Joyce
Last night we went to the opening night of Peter Pan at The Grand Theatre in Blackpool. The theatre is situated in the centre of Blackpool and there is plenty of parking nearby. It is a lovely old building with plenty of beautiful features, like the stained glass windows and amazing plasterwork and paintings in the auditorium. We were sat upstairs in the dress circle, the seats were comfortable and there was plenty of legroom. As we arrived there were plenty of excited children (and adults – myself included) all looking forward to the show.
This Christmas production of Peter Pan has been written by Jon Monie and is directed by Anthony Williams, they have done a fantastic job of re-telling J.M Barrie’s traditional tale, it still has all the characters we know and love but with a few twists and turns along the way. Peter Pan is one of my favourite pantomimes, it has a really good story and there is plenty of action with opportunities for the cast to make the story their own.
Steve Royle is brilliant as Smee, involving the audience from the minute he arrives on stage. He first appears as a delivery man, delivering plenty of jokes along with his Christmas parcels. Steve is a very talented comedian and is especially great at ad-libbing particularly when he receives an unexpected response from a member of the audience! Throughout the night he has a fantastic rapport with Tom Lister who plays the villainous Captain Hook and together they make a great double act. The humour worked on many levels with lots of jokes that appealed to young and old alike.
Rachel Grundy plays Tinkerbell, not only does she fly but she roller skates too. This enabled her to glide around the stage gracefully and added an extra touch to the fairy magic.
The set was visually impressive, transporting the audience from the Darling’s nursery to several locations around Neverland. They made full use of the space with the characters flying not only over the stage but over the audience too. There was a slight technical hitch at the end when Peter Pan should have flown onto the stage but this was managed skilfully and added a few more laughs to the end of the show and we suspect the children didn’t even notice!
Music to accompany the night was provided by Musical Director Sam Coates on the keyboard along with Hannah Mitchell on Bass and David Talisman on drums and percussion. They played a mix of songs including some familiar chart hits – definitely enjoyed by the group of young girls behind us who were really joining in and enjoying themselves! We especially liked the Queen songs which included Steve doing a great impression of Freddie Mercury.
The three pirate crew members were obviously talented acrobats, leaping and somersaulting around the stage throughout the night. Towards the end of the show they were given a chance to show off their skills when, together with Steve Royle, they put on a great show of tumbling and clowning around. Whilst perhaps not particularly part of the story, it was a definite hit with the audience and they received some well-deserved cheers.
The Grand Theatre has come up with an absolute winner this year; there is no need to take the second star to the right, and straight on ‘til morning, when you can just go to Blackpool for your own taste of the magic of Neverland.
The show is at The Grand Theatre until Sunday 5th January so it would make a lovely Christmas treat for all the family.
Tickets cost from £17.99 to £24.99
Peter Pan is at The Grand Theatre in Blackpool from 6 December 2019 to 5 January 2020, for more information or to book tickets visit www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk or call the box office on 01253 290 190.
The Grand Theatre Blackpool, 33 Church Street, Blackpool, FY1 1HT | 01253 290 190