Review: Peter Pan, Norwich Theatre Royal
09:59 22 December 2014
Panto is a triumph – Oh yes it is!
Panto season is now well under way at the Theatre Royal – oh yes it is, and in fine style.
The big name signing this winter is Kevin Kennedy – or “Curly from Coronation Street”, as he will surely always be known – as Captain Hook. He revels in a suitably villainous performance, with his drawling sneer something like a malevolent Prince of Wales.
There are many other fine performances throughout the cast, particularly from its younger members.
Special mention too should go to the mystery performer playing “Nana”, the Darling’s dog/nursemaid. Walking on all fours, clad in a sheepdog costume and looking more like a football mascot, this heroic individual must have been cooking inside that costume.
The special effects and aerial displays are impressive too, in particular the octopus and crocodile – a late scene stealer – while the production fizzes with wit, charm and humour.
Those with short attention spans – myself included – find no opportunity to allow their minds to wander, with scenes brief and pace fast.
Things are kept moving at a brisk rate by Smee (Richard Gauntlett, also writer and director) and Starkey (Ben Langley), providing the play’s comic backbone. Review:
For parents hoping the production will provide respite from Frozen-mania, there may be disappointment, with the shoehorning in of the film’s anthem “Let It Go”, as well as the ubiquitous “Happy”, by Pharrell Williams – though both go down well with younger audience members.
There’s plenty too for panto aficionados – if they can forgive the fact that Peter Pan isn’t a “true” panto – from the songsheet to the dame, with Sid Sloane as the Jamaican patois-spouting Delilah.
Ultimately, though, only one commendation is needed: the play kept not just me but my three-year-old enthralled for two-and-a-half hours. No mean feat.