By Julie Wallis twitter.com/NiceNic63
Peter Pan at Birmingham Hippodrome
I’ve just seen my first ever panto and it was a riot. Peter Pan is at Birmingham Hippodrome until Sunday 27th January and I really loved it.
The story is the traditional tale by J. M. Barrie, about Peter, the little boy who never grew up, the lost boys , Wendy, John and Michael the Darling children and of course Captain Hook, the pirate trying to exact revenge on Peter.
There really is something for everyone in this, from slapstick to sing-alongs, death defying stunts from the Drunken Pirates and toilet humour in the form of a Donald Trump joke!
Jimmy Osmond plays Captain Hook with relish, who knew Jimmy Osmond was a comedy genius, but he is. Not only has he embraced the unique tradition of panto, but he appears to be loving being the baddie. With laughs galore and the most breathtaking tongue twister sketch between Mr. Osmond and Meera Syal.
Meera Syal is the Magical Mermaid. As a well loved comedic actor, Meera obviously has loads of humour in every line, but the tongue twister with Jimmy Osmond needs to be seen to be believed. Meera even briefly resurrects her character from The Kumars at no. 42 for the aforementioned sketch. As I said, there really is something for everyone and that includes the adults.
Jaymi Hensley, who was in boy band Union J, the runners up on the X-factor in 2012 is our titular hero Peter Pan. He looks the part, he can act and he seems to love the parts where he is interacting with the audience. He definitely makes for a great Peter.
Finally our Smee, as played by Hippodrome regular Matt Slack. He doesn’t let up on the laughs and he really knows his audience. Lots of the humour goes over the heads of the little ones, there really is a lot for adults in this production. Everything about Matt is comedy gold, from his walk when he is ferrying messages between Hook and the Magical Mermaid, to his facial expressions that say so much more than any words, to his ad lib remarks.
At one point, all four of our characters perform a slapstick sketch that involves Matt Slack receiving lots of blows to the head and body, the timing is impeccable and even though I knew it was slapstick, I still gasped and covered my mouth when the frying pan made contact and floored Smee. The slapstick scene alone is worth the price of entry.
I must mention the crocodile, it is HUGE and scary, really scary. I don’t even know how, but the head projected out from the stage, right over the audience and I could not work out how, or even if I was looking at a holographic type crocodile or whether it was real. It’s certainly incredibly impressive. Speaking of impressive, Smee riding his flying moped which also came out, right above the heads of the audience was equally breathtaking.
Sascha Williams and Stephanie Nock are The Drunken Pirates, a balancing act. The balancing was impressive enough, the fact it was all done on a high table so our drunken pirate ended up being about 3 meters in the air, I was convinced he would fall to his death. Adding another dimension to the entertainment was the Neverlanders, as played by The Timbuktu Tumblers. Lots of balancing and limboing under flaming limbo poles (watch for Smee and his ‘failed’ attempt).
Other highlights include Jimmy Osmond singing Crazy Pirates to the tune of Osmonds hit Crazy Horses, Smee talking us through the countries of the world in a very clever scene and the amazing choreography from the pirates. There is some lovely, big, dance routines performed by Hooks pirates.
The Darling children were adorable, with Cassie Compton as Wendy and Kellie Gnauck as a stroppy Tinker Bell but I fear I’ve run out of words now, so don’t take my word for it, Book tickets to see this fun packed panto, it’s probably the best in the UK. Not only will you believe a boy can fly, you’ll believe a moped can fly too.
Check out Peter Pan at Birmingham Hippodrome until 27th January. Book tickets here: birminghamhippodrome.com/calendar/peter-pan
This isn’t a sponsored post. #BrumHour was invited to the press night of Peter Pan by Birmingham Hippodrome.
When not blogging theatre for #BrumHour, Julie Wallis can be found on her own blog at redandgoldweb.wordpress.com