It’s the most wonderful time of year again! For many, me included, the pantomime signals the start of Christmas festivities and is as much of a tradition as mince pies. 

This year’s panto at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal is Peter Pan, me and the teenagers (managed to get their heads up long enough) went along to see it.

Peter Pan (Jack McNeill) and his fairy sidekick Tinkerbell (Lucy Evans) find themselves in the home of the Darling children, big sister Wendy (Rosie O’Hare) wants to join Peter and Tink on their adventures in Neverland. They think happy thoughts and fly past the second star on the right and straight on til morning, reaching Neverland for adventures. It is not long before they encounter mean old Captain Hook (John Challis) and his bumbling sidekicks Starkey (Paul Gabriel) and kind-hearted Smee (Joe Pasquale). Hook, desperate to wreak revenge on Peter, blaming his loss of hand to a hungry crocodile on him, plans to kidnap the Darling children and use them to get to Peter. Smee doesn’t like this idea and changes sides, helping Peter out. Will they defeat Hook?

You can expect full belly laughs with this panto, the whole cast have an incredible bond which is clear to see and they all do an amazing job with their parts, however, if you do have a table booked or a bus to catch you might want to allow extra time. Sticking to the script is not an option with Pasquale – which makes it even more of a delight to watch! I forgot how much I enjoy watching Joe Pasquale on stage, he really knows how to grab the audience and raise a guffaw. He fails at getting on your nerves, you’re too busy laughing. Watch out for the 12 days of Christmas song, you might need your inhaler!

Some young ones may be a little scared of the impressive crocodile and the fantastic 3D section, both of these had adults and children screaming in a mixture of delight and anxiety…I won’t spoil it with more details but these parts are so effective.

You cannot fail to raise a smile at this year’s panto, audience participation, flying fairies and believable baddies, your expectations will be exceeded. The only thing you may have to watch out for is sometimes I struggled to hear the odd line due to either the music being louder than the cast microphones or a bit of interference with the mics but this happened very rarely and did not take away from the wonderment. 

So, get your flashing wands, your tinsel tiara’s and your Christmas outfits on and get down and see this year’s panto at Nottingham Theatre Royal, more than worth a watch…unmissable!

Merry Christmas 

Photo : Tracey Whitefoot