Theatre Royal Theatre Square NG1 5ND To 12 January 2014.
Runs 2hr 30min One interval.
TICKETS: 0115 989 5555.
Review: Alan Geary 7 December.
Despite some good things, taken as a whole this deserves to be panned.
Peter Pan can be a problem. For a start, what with its dark underside – lost children? – and its less than completely happy ending, it isn’t really and truly the stuff of pantomime. But this show has star pull so it will surely play to packed houses – one hopes so.
Nevertheless there is a lot wrong with it. There’s an awful lot of surprisingly poor acting and singing; Barney Harwood, for example, in the title role is particularly plank-like at both. Overall, music and voice are uncomfortably loud and out of kilter: the one drowning-out the other so you can’t hear the lyrics.
As for the stars, Su Pollard (Mimi the Mermaid with two legs and no tail) received an unearned ovation as soon as she appeared; perhaps it’s because she hails from Nottingham. David Hasselhoff, as the man with the hook, is carried on in an elaborate sedan chair to thunderous applause. He subsequently demonstrates mediocrity in both acting and singing.
That said, Captain Hook’s song ‘This is the Moment’ in the second half is powerfully done. In fact most of the best things of the production are associated with the second half – the very end, when people are chucking bogus rocks onto the stage, is genuinely exhilarating for young and old.
It is also made clear in the second half that the pirates at least can sing and dance as well as get laughs. And Smee (Ben Nickless), with his silly squeaky voice and alliteration, is excellent, good with the children who come up on stage, and when he reads an innuendo-packed story.
Not many reviewers, surely, enjoy being negative about anything, particularly a Christmas panto; but taken as a whole this Peter Pan deserves to be panned.
Captain Hook: Da vid Hasselhoff.
Peter Pan: Barney Harwood.
Mimi the Mermaid: Su Pollard.
Mr Smee: Ben Nickless.
Tinkerbell: Isabel Hathaway.
Wendy: Hannah Nicholas.
Tiger Lily/The Maid: Billie Kay.
Michael Darling: Ruben Lawlor-Leckie/Taylor Dakin.
John Darling: Alexander Beardsley/Ryan Mathura.
Pan’s People: Rhianne Alleyne, Gabrielle Cocca, Lloyd Davies, Lauren Griffin, Josh Harrison, Laura Nicholson, Oliver Ramsdale, Nick Woodford.
The Lost Boys: The Theatre Royal Babes.
Director: Tudor Davies.
Lighting: Matt Clutterham.
Sound: Gareth Owen.
Musical Director: Joseph Morley.
Choreographer: Gerry Zuccarello.
Fight director: Karl Magee.