Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan is most spectacular Palace Theatre panto production yet
11:30am Mon Dec 15, 2014
Bernie Clifton, centre, as Smee with Captain Hook (Michael Howe), left, and Dame Able Mabel (Simon Howe)
Bernie Clifton, centre, as Smee with Captain Hook (Michael Howe), left, and Dame Able Mabel (Simon Howe)
Fantastic flying sequences, glittering costumes, stunning sets and a few surprise twists — this year’s panto at the Palace Theatre, Newark, is its most lavish and spectacular one to date.
Peter Pan, played by Sam Philip Cox takes to the air
Peter Pan, played by Sam Philip Cox takes to the air
Producer Paul Holman Associates has taken J. M. Barrie’s classic story of the boy who didn’t wanted to grow up and has added a few modern tweaks to bring the production bang up-to-date.

The Pantomime Adventures Of Peter Pan, on until January 3, is a delight for young and old and is magical in every way.

The show begins in the present day with a group of children bumping into Peter Pan. He transports them and the audience back in time to the beginning of his story with the help of some sensational special effects.

Here we meet Mr and Mrs Darling and their children, Wendy, John and Michael and their dog Nana. The nanny, Dame Able Mabel, is asked to keep an eye on the children while Mr and Mrs Darling go out for the night.

While the children are asleep Peter Pan flies in through an open window looking for his shadow. An electronic Tinker Bell is there to help him.

Peter befriends them and invites them to fly across the rooftops to Neverland where they meet Captain Hook, his shipmate Smee, pirates, Indians led by Tiger Lily and a magical mermaid, for adventures they will never forget.

Naomi Slater as Tiger Lily
Naomi Slater as Tiger Lily
Bernie Clifton is back in his fourth consecutive pantomime at Newark and is excellent as Smee. After arriving on stage on a wrecking ball last year I wondered how he could top that — the answer is by flying in on his faithful ostrich, Oswald.

Bernie’s comic timing is perfect. He tells jokes and has a good rapport with children. He gets all the youngsters, and some mums and dads, shaking their hips to All About The Bass. This year he stuns theatregoers with a powerful rendition of One Moment In Time.

He is a fantastic sidekick to the dastardly and evil Captain Hook, wonderfully played by Michael Howe, who gets the audience booing every time he arrives on stage. He shows off his singing and dancing skills to Trouble and Paint It Black.

They are supported by the super Simon Howe as the larger-than-life Dame Able Mable, wearing an array of colourful and outrageous costumes.

She flies about the stage having followed the children to Neverland and makes an hilarious appearance as the magical mermaid singing Splish Splash.

Sam Philip Cox is great as the adventurous Peter Pan and has bags of energy.

The whole cast
The whole cast
He excels in When I Ruled The World and Steal My Girl, getting the audience to clap along.

Chrissy Kett, as Wendy, flies through the air while singing Electricity. She is joined by Peter and her brother John, played on alternate nights by Joseph Gray and MacKenzie Lambert, and her brother Michael, played on alternate nights by Charlie Belton and Joseph Walker.

Naomi Slater looks fantastic as Tiger Lily and whips the audience, Lost Boys and Indians into a frenzy with an upbeat version of Burn.

The dancers and children from The Tozer Studios put great energy into their dance routines. The music is performed by musical director Matt Marks and percussionist Steve Farmer.

Highlights of the panto, directed by Peter Dayson, include a hilarious cookery sketch between the Dame and Smee, and a ghost scene involving a green crocodile.

The addition of a Dame in Peter Pan for the first time is a real treat and works well.

The backstage crew also deserve a mention for having so many characters airborne in such a small space.

This magical adventure is a must-see — DAS.

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