Reviewed by Kathryn Harrison
Going to see a pantomime at Christmas time is a festive tradition for many families and for us Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without watching the Liverpool Empire Theatre pantomime. We’ve been to watch the pantomime there every year for the past few years and know we’re always in for a treat when we go.
This year the story was Peter Pan and had many well-known faces playing the characters. Playing panto baddy Captain Hook was Louis Emerick, most famous for his character in Brookside. Louis was a brilliant baddy, resulting in lots of hissing and booing from the crowd. My nearly three-year-old decided that Captain Hook was her favourite character in the show. As an original character Cutlass Kenneth added another comedic element to the tale playing heavily on actor Tony Maudsley’s character Kenneth from the hit ITV show Benidorm. At times I felt some of the jokes involving this character were slightly too risqué for a family show but thankfully most of them seemed to go over my children’s heads. Returning to the Empire panto was comedian John Evans playing the character of Smee. John is brilliant at panto, absolutely hilarious without taking it too seriously and he interacts with the audience superbly. John Evans is a big reason as to why we returned to the Empire panto this year.
The roles of Peter Pan, Tinker Bell and Wendy were all played by less well-known actors but all of them were brilliant. Cristina Hoey played Wendy Darling wonderfully and Georgie Ashford managed to depict the character of Tinker Bell perfectly. I really enjoyed watching Adam McCoy as Peter Pan, he was great although throughout the show I couldn’t shake the feeling that I recognised him. It wasn’t until part way through the second half of the performance that it clicked, we had seen Adam last year as Aladdin at the Hope Street Theatre. It’s a testament to Adam’s acting abilities that I remembered his face but also that because he was so good as Peter Pan I couldn’t place him from his previous performance. In my opinion he is a great actor who is definitely one to watch. Rounding off the main cast were Niki Evans playing Mimi, the magical mermaid and Asa Elliott as Tiger Billy. Both were fantastic with Mimi, the magical mermaid being my seven-year-old daughter’s favourite character. However as in most pantomimes the children were the real stars of the show, there are two teams of children playing the lost boys on the night we visited it was the green team meaning we had Jamie Leahey playing John Darling and Archie Williams-Lawton as Michael Darling both boys and all the lost boys were incredible for such young children but Archie was particularly adorable!
Driving home, my daughters, husband and I were discussing our favourite bit in the show but we just couldn’t decide. Every time one of us said which part we liked we then remembered another bit that was equally brilliant, we all thought it was really funny and all four of us were laughing all the way home remembering various bits. Peter Pan at the Liverpool Empire is a brilliant pantomime for all the family, we had a great time and can’t wait until next year!
Tickets cost from £11 (plus £3.65 transaction fee).
Peter Pan is at the Liverpool Empire from 7-29 December 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/liverpool or call the box office on 0844 8713017.
Liverpool Empire, Lime Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 1JE | 0844 8713017