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Marcus Billany as Peter Pan, David Mckechnie as Captain Hook and Sutton Coldfield's Sam Rabone as Mrs Smee. Picture Pamela Raith

The new Adventures of Peter Pan

Lichfield Garrick


Do you remember that time, long long ago, when Christmases were just plain good old fun, when the clichés of the family feuds get swept away by a feeling of goodwill and joy? Well no neither do I but on the eve of December 1st at the Lichfield Garrick ,Tinkerbell flew into town, sprinkled her magical dust over the place and took us all back to a seasonal pantomime which is the closest you are going to get to perfect.

Calling this The new Adventures of Peter Pan might be a bit of stretch as it’s the story we all know, but writer Paul Hendy and producer Emily Wood have steered well clear of the need to fully rework the panto formula.

There’s no need to reflect on any political mood, party or inclination and there’s only the barest reflection on the viral issues of the last two years.  What remains is nothing but heaps of colour, music, humour and special effects creating a full on, highly entertaining and professional production.  In this version, Wendy is all grown up and so it’s her daughter Elizabeth who’s off to Neverland with the forever young Peter Pan.

Sam Rabone returns to what he does best, the panto Dame as Mrs Smee, bringing his unique energy to a show that fizzes throughout. The gags are, daft, the litanies of puns are groan worthy and the costumes are colourfully outrageous, what’s not to like?

All of the cast double up as secondary characters turning this small company into what appears to be a very large production.

TV favourite Joanne Heywood is no stranger to panto herself and dances, sings and beams her infectious smile throughout the show as Wendy, Myrtle and The Overacting Pirate.

Of course you need a villain and David Mckechnie filled the boots of Captain Hook to perfection. With just the right balance of his evil menacing taunting of the audience and over theatrical parody, his Hook worked as a great comical antidote to the crazy antics of Mrs Smee.

All of this experience was backed by a young energetic cast who delivered on every front.

Marcus Billany played Peter Pan and proved he can still sing even when airborne across the stage as too did Maria Conneely as the heart-warming Elizabeth. Amy Murchison took on the roles of Tinkerbell, a pirate and the servant and tirelessly danced and acted for pretty much the entire production.

The main dance action was provided by Molly Francis, Dominic Stevenson and an acrobatic Daniel Boardman.  With Choreography by Simon Barnum the company pulled off some great routines on what is not a very large stage to the music directed by Andrew Hopkins.

No expense seem to have been spared on the set by Helga Wood and the special front projection effects combine with the very effective lighting by Barry Smith to create spectacular flying scenes for the journey to and from Neverland.

All in all this is panto done to the highest quality, where the gags, performances and special effects all combine to create a perfect traditional Christmas treat. So go and see it and if you need directions its, the second to the right and straight on to Lichfield. To 02-01-22

Jeff Grant


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