Muddy Reviews: Peter Pan, Pavilion Theatre, Worthing
Another week another Peter Pan… it seems to be the panto of choice in Sussex this year and this Sunday I saw it in the seaside setting of the Pavilion Theatre in front of Worthing Pier. It’s on there till 8 Jan – but be quick if you want to grab a ticket most performances are nearly full.
I took along my youngest nephew (nearly seven) who had been in virtual quarantine for two weeks after a tonsil op but happily was recovered enough for the requisite booing and ‘it’s behind you’-ing.
There were plenty of TV types in the show with Richard ‘Dick’ McCourt of Dick & Dom as pirate Smee, comedian Patrick Monahan as the dastardly Captain Hook, and former X Factor contestants Amelia Lily as feisty Tiger Lily and Lloyd Daniels as a cute Peter Pan.
Tinkerbell doesn’t appear as a full character but is a darting light that flits around the stage (as in early stagings of the classic) and also appears as an animated fairy projected on the arch round the stage. It was a nice effect for the early scenes but I would have prefered her to appear in the flesh once we hit Neverland.
The early flying effects were good, mixing cables and projections and there was a neat countdown back through the ages to the Victorian setting of Peter Pan, using graphics and music that felt a bit Back to the Future and helped build excitement. Some fire whirling in the song and dance routine before the interval also created a buzz before we broke for sweets, ice-cream, light up swords and all that malarkey.
I thought the script could have made more of the part of the dame – Able Mabel (Simon Howe) – but we enjoyed her ridiculous mermaid disguise and the slapstick cooking scene with she and Smee, which included a joke about getting her some dates that nephew and I were still chuckling about after the show.
We both decided our favourite character was Smee, from Dick and Dom and Amelia Lily’s great singing voice also stood out. But shhh, don’t tell, I secretly loved the baddie. Patrick Monahan was excellent as a gravel voiced, very booable Captain Hook who had plenty of interaction with the audience, losing no opportunity to tell children how much he hated them and encouraging parents to throw them away across the audience.
In fact there was a good level of audience interaction all round with parents and later children pulled up on stage (the second more willing than the first) to join in with songs. One mum got to yell her love of bogeys.
There were quite alot of children and teens in the cast – something that impressed my nephew who was trying to work out which were ‘real’ and which were adults playing children. There were also several adult jokes including a few unsubtle innuendos (the one about Dick and Dom made me cringe), which went thankfully over the head of Mr-nearly-seven.
His favourite part turned out to be over my head – a Justin Timberlake song near the end that so pleased him he walked along the seafront afterwards singing it in mock-opera style in the voices of the male and female characters.
The Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan is at Pavilion Theatre, Worthing BN11 3PX, every day until 8 Jan (except Christmas Day and 3 Jan), tickets costs from £12.50, 01903 206 206. worthingtheatres.co.uk