Review: Peter Pan, Derby Arena

Perhaps it was the wet and windy weather outside but last night’s audience at Derby Arena’s Peter Pan certainly needed a lot of warming up before they joined in with the fun.

The hard-working cast could muster barely a ‘boo’ or a ‘he’s behind you’ out of the panto-goers and quite a few of Morgan Brind’s cracking one-liners failed to raise little more than a titter.

By the end of the glittering show though, everyone seemed to be getting in the spirit of the occasion and the children were loving the tomfoolery and transfixed by the snowflake finale.

Peter Pan is a difficult pantomime to pull off and I felt that the story was lost in a fuddle of slapstick, songs and special effects, but the chance to be able to stage some spectacular flying scenes in the vast space that is Derby Arena must have sealed it for Little Wolf Entertainment.

And credit where credit is due, Thomas Grant, making his debut panto appearance in the title role was admirably impressive as he soared through the air on the wires. The younger children were wide-eyed with amazement.

Once again Brind, who wrote and designed the pantomime, nailed the role of the dame with a dazzling array of outrageous costumes, perfect comic timing and relentless persecution of an unsuspecting ‘boyfriend’ in the audience.

He is undoubtedly the star of the show, but coming up close behind him was Katrina Bryan as a brilliantly sassy Tinker Bell.  Her performance and a very clever fishy-themed monologue by Abigail Finley, as Marilyn the Mermaid saved the pantomime for me.

The Ensemble worked extremely hard and the Lost Children were all suitably energetic and enthusiastic. Little stars of the future one and all.

If you are brimming with festive spirit and want a magical night out with your family then get along to the arena and make sure you are ready to join in the fun. The cast want to hear you laughing until your sides split and screaming until you are raw. That’s the point of panto.

The rest of the cast were Richard Brindley as Quick Draw Macaw, Rebecca Brierley as Wendy, Bill Ward as George Darling, Roddy Peters as Mr Starkey and Bill Ward as Captain Hook.

The ensemble were Daniel Noah, Jorja Foster, Thomas Harden, Molly Grace Marsh, Lucy Morris and Connell Pearce.

The live band were Dave Culling, Nathan Harding and John Clark.

The production was directed by Tim Ford with choreography by Rae Piper, lighting by Mark Dymock and sound by Adam P McCready.

The Red Team were William Buckley, Nathan Hayward, Avaani Babra, Macie Barrington, Lily Bodice, Olivia Docherty, Corey Greener, Naomi Hills, Maci Nash and Dallas Welsh.

The Blue Team were Archie Muter, Kieran Betteridge, Laila Cook, Annabelle Fletcher, Joseph Green, Grace Lawlor-Hill, Patricia Brille Natividad, Zoe Tisdell, Meghan Wills and Lottie Venskus.

The Green Team were Henry-Joe Marriott, Issac Rothwell, Sasha David, Niamh Eagles, Summer Fearn, Belle Kumble-Rose, Elsie Mitchell, Isabel Morgan, Thea Perry and Libby Swanwick.

Peter Pan is at Derby Arena until January 4, for tickets go to http://www.derbylive.co.uk

The pictures are by Robert Day.