Reviewed by Dot White
I love a pantomime; it is such a special time for all the family. Last night, with my daughter, granddaughter and her friend we joined many others, young and old, in the crowded Grove Theatre in Dunstable to watch Peter Pan, which appears to be a popular pantomime choice this year. We were not disappointed!
The musicians took their seats in one of the boxes, the music began, but even before the curtain went up some of the cast appeared at the front of the theatre and were clapping and encouraging an excited audience to join in with them. From start to finish Peter Pan was an absolutely fantastic pantomime! We sang silly songs, did the actions, had a competition which I am sure our side of the theatre won, we shouted, ‘it’s behind you!’ and ‘I believe in fairies to save Tinkerbell’. Of course, one member of the audience had to be picked on and made to stand up and swear in front of the entire audience that he believed in fairies. I am so glad that wasn’t me! There were of course lots of silly jokes and the chemistry between the actors was absolutely fantastic.
We had the excitement of Peter Pan, being played by AJ Pritchard (BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing), who flew through the air into the bedroom of the Darling children. My granddaughter and her friend could hardly contain themselves! AJ Pritchard just a few feet away from them!!
Samantha Dorrance as Wendy Darling was delightful, the big sister who looked after her two younger brothers John and Michael Darling when their parents were out.
The children’s nanny Mrs Smee, played by Will Kenning, was so brilliantly funny, her outfits were absolutely amazing. Mrs Smee had so many quick changes, I’m not sure how she managed them all! Richard David-Caine was great as Captain Hook, he and Mrs Smee just fed off each other, they were really funny together and we laughed at them so much.
Jo Osmond as Tinkerbell just burst through the window when she followed Peter Pan who was looking for his shadow. Jo Osmond was a real bundle of energy, very bubbly, and portrayed Tinkerbell so very well.
Wendy, John and Michael decided to go with Peter Pan and Tinkerbell to Neverland, thinking happy thoughts they were all able to fly out of their bedroom window and up among the stars. Once in Neverland they met The Lost Boys who had fallen out of their prams as babies.
Mrs Darling, Mermaid and Squatting Cow were all played by Katy Dean, she somehow managed to give each of these characters their own identity. Kirsty Anne Shaw as Tiger Lily/Pirate /Mermaid deserves a special mention, she was one of the very energetic, talented dancers and one of our favourites along with Lucy Parry as Ethel/Maureen/Neverlander and Abbie Quinnen as Pirate/Neverlander/Mermaid. They were joined in several numbers by the male dancers and the young Pirates who had been chosen from the local area by audition.
The costumes were very creative and the scenery quite simple but cleverly designed and very effective.
The musicians complimented the singers rather than drowning them out as some orchestras do.
All in all, it was a fabulous evening at the Grove Theatre watching Peter Pan, which is a true family pantomime. If you have not booked your tickets already, I would book them quickly!! You will not regret it! I can thoroughly recommend it!!
Tickets cost from £15.50 to £26.50 (booking/transaction fees may apply).
Peter Pan is at the Grove Theatre in Dunstable from 10 December 2019 to 5 January 2020, for more information or to book tickets visit www.grovetheatre.co.uk or call the box office on 01582 602080.
Grove Theatre, Grove Park, Court Drive, Dunstable, LU5 4GP | 01582 602080