Derby Live’s pantomime opened to a raptuous welcome from fans of both Britain’s Got Talent star George Sampson and the city’s favourite Mike ‘Squeaky” McClean as the comic genius. Dancer George made a perfect Peter Pan and was strutting his stuff from the first scene.
The young star received a roar of approval every time his twinkle toes touched the boards and when he flew through the air and swooped above the Assembly Rooms audience there was practically a standing ovation.
Derby loved Mike McClean last year and he didn’t disappoint this time around. His cheeky wink and slapstick routines were great value and he worked the audience from the second he steped on stage.
Paul Holman Associates which is presenting the show, made a shrewd move in teaming him up with Jason Sutton as the panto’s dame Able Mabel. They were an indomitable pair and made sure the laughs kept coming. Mabel appears in a different over-the-top costume for every scene with some incredibly imaginative headwear.
If you are not a fan of George (is there anyone out there who isn’t?) then these two are the best reason to go and see the show. One of the most memorable scenes has Mabel swinging from a wire in a marvellous mermaid costume and the duo cooking in the pirate ship galley was pure old fashioned comedy.
Larry Lamb, the show’s other big name, is the evil Captain Hook and the Gavin and Stacey star plays along with the pantomime fun, clearly enjoying the role of the baddie with the huge scary roar.
The energy and pace of the other performers is breathtaking especially the acrobatic routine by one of the dancers on the ship’s rope. She fully deserved her applause.
As always the youngsters were a delight to watch and the singing by Carys Gray, who played Mrs Darling, was tremendous.
The special effects proved that this was truly a 21st century pantomime as Wendy, Michael and John fly with Peter from London to Neverland.
Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to leave before Smee brings youngsters from the audience on to the stage at the end. It was an absolute scream and totally unexpected.
Escape from the real world for a couple of hours and immerse yourself in the festive fun – laughs are guaranteed and the colourful show is full of seasonal joy right up to the shower of artificial snow that drifted down as we left the theatre.
Peter Pan is being staged in the Great Hall at Derby Assembly Rooms until January 6. For ticket details go to http://www.derbylive.co.uk or phone the box office on 01332 255800.