Written by Chris Hannon
Theatre Royal Bury St Edmund
until Sunday 19 January 2020
Sadly this is the last review for Theatreworld Internet Magazine from the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds before it ceases publication at the end of 2019. But let’s go out in style with this hugely enjoyable and fun packed ‘Peter Pan’ pantomime which ticks all the right boxes for a traditional family entertainment. It’s not only the young children who were literally ‘hooked in’ to the capers on and off stage but the ‘adult kids’ who were in fine voice. Well it is a parents and grandparents night out as well!
The production is excellently cast with the usual array of colourful characters. Starting with the obvious role has to be the garish Dame in the form of Tiger Lily played by Chris Clarkson. As this is his eighteenth time as a pantomime Dame he used all the tricks of the trade to get the audience (and indeed the cast) into fits of laughter. Dress sense was down to it’s usual flamboyant excesses!
Playing alongside Tiger Lily in more ways than one was Oliver Mawdsley as the likable and lovable timid Smee. Their antics together demonstrated the excellent stage chemistry which applied to all the cast throughout this fun packed and vibrant show.
Having a ginormous stage presence in several ways was Alan Mehdizadeh as the dastardly Captain Hook. There was no need for him to encourage the audience to boo him as the fact he was on stage was enough to get a hostile feeling towards his evil intentions. And of course he enjoyed every single minute of it, milking it whenever he could. Yet by contrast Alan’s role as the Dad was the complete opposite, and you felt his sadness and compassion towards his children without a Mother.
Bringing high levels of energy and positivism to the proceedings was Lauren Chinery as a most exciting Peter Pan. She caught everything which was needed for this most dynamic role.
Working with her was the delightful character of Wendy performed by Jasmine Hackett who captured most poignantly the child/mother instinct needed for this role.
Now to poor Tinkerbell who was such fun most of the time in her bright green outfit (and hair) until she fell foul of the tricks of Capt Hook. Anna Campkin displayed the fun, laughter and joy but also showed the sadness of making such a mistake. But of course in true pantomime tradition it’s all made good.
I must make mention of Joanne Sandi as the mischievous Mad Maud who somewhat reminded me of the Artful Dodger from Oliver in the cheeky style she behaved. She was great to watch and so animated.
The live music under the baton of the Musical Director Ward Baker gave plenty of punch to the show including the Bond theme adding to the sinister nature of the plot.
The young chorus teams from the locality gave excellent displays of dancing and singing and special mention of the young member who gallantly was in the crocodile and executed the final solution to the Capt Hook saga!
So this tremendous production of the J. M. Barrie story premiered as a play in 1904 and it’s hard to believe this is the first time performed in this Theatre which is celebrating it’s 200th anniversary.
Thanks Theatreworld for supporting this Theatre over so many years.
Review by Robert Wright
See website for performance days / times etc - https://www.theatreroyal.org/shows/peter-pan/