A review written by Anna Hales

The first pantomime I remember seeing as a small child was Peter Pan with Bonnie Langford playing the leading role at The Mayflower, it must have been in late 80’s/early 90’s. I was mesmerized and I remember thinking that the flying was ‘magic’ not realising the characters were hoisted by wires. From that first panto, it became a Christmas tradition that my mum, Grandma and I would see every panto thereafter. 

Fast forward 30 odd years and it’s a tradition that my daughter is now part of, she sits between my Mum (Grandma) and I for Peter Pan 2019. I was excited to see my daughters face, to see if her expressions mirrored mine all those years ago.

A few revisions on the traditional tale, including that Smee is the Darlings childminder means he has more of a presence as an engaging leading character and they take the journey together. Incorporating current references such as Love Island and sprinkled with local humor, makes the show updated and relatable.

My highlights, (there are many)  included Tiger Lily’s set with The Timbuktu Tumblers and their unbelievable acrobatics in Neverland. Smee’s flags of the world, the stunning rendition between Peter Pan, Wendy, Tinkerbell and Tiger Lily and the Pirates amusing laugh out loud antics. In three parts of the show it felt like you could almost touch the set, with a motorcycle, the crocodile and Captain Hook’s boat protruding from the stage like wizardry.

The cast were faultless and perfectly suited to their roles, the interaction with the audience is always a winner and my daughter (mum and I) were truly entertained with lots of ‘wow’s’ and laughter.

My daughters face was a picture, she hardly diverted her eyes from the stage. She too adored The Timbuktu Tumblers, along with Tinkerbell and her sparkly outfit, the mammoth crocodile, the naked skater and the ‘magic flying.’ Her review in a few words is summed up by ‘it was amazing!….that crocodile was huge!….how did they fly?….and….can we see it again tomorrow?”

But the ultimate test, my daughter had the same reaction just like I did at her age seeing my first panto of Peter Pan at The Mayflower and I know that she will remember it’s magic for many years to come, just as I do.

Peter Pan featuring Marti Pellow, the multi-award-winning singer-songwriter and musical theatre star as the villainous Captain Hook, Darren Day as Smee, Union J singer Jaymi Hensley as Peter Pan and the hilarious Grumbleweeds as the Pirates, is at The Mayflower Southampton until 5th January 2020 https://www.mayflower.org.uk/whats-on/pantomime-2019/