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How nice to see a different pantomime, and one that has many interpretations. This version of Peter Pan was traditional in some ways, but enhanced and made more interesting by the set.  The gauze with projections on created beautiful backdrops without having to go through scene changes and blackouts, which I thought worked particularly well.

I would have liked to have seen a bit more colour in the scenery, it was pantomime after all, and the flats particularly were a little dull, however, good lighting was used to enhance the scenes.

Costumes were mostly good looking and suited the characters.  It was a little disconcerting to see adults playing the children, but I understand this was not how it was originally cast, and was brought about because children dropped out, which must have been very difficult for everyone, so the cast actually did very well in that respect.  

I also understand that Marlon Gill was drafted in as Mrs Britches only a couple of weeks before performance, so he did remarkably well, and created a very likeable Dame, in the best traditions of pantomime.  His costumes were very colourful and helped the creation of the overall feel.

The flying sequence was accomplished well – how lovely to have the luxury of a) your own facility, and b) people who can concoct these things for the cast to use, that work so well.

I thought Babette Smith was a first-rate Peter Pan – she got the slightly quirky ebullience  and bravura associated with Peter, but kept it light and fun at the same time – and I liked her relationship with Wendy played by Pollyanna Bloxham, who also created a nicely rounded character, managing to get the child-like quality, with the mothering side coming out with the Lost Boys.

Calum Harbour and Lewis Dowling as Michael and Peter managed to get a childlike quality to their acting – perhaps Lewis more so than Calum, but then he was supposed to be the younger brother.

The audience were really hard work the night I was there – not many children and the adults weren't always playing ball – so I thought the cast coped really well to keep it going and under control.  There were a few ad libs but nothing too controversial.,

I have the feeling that Chris Armitt worked quite hard during the course of the show – appearing as three animals that I could se.  Nana – which was an excellent portrayal of a cartoon-type dog, the crocodile and the Monster, plus a really super camp pirate, who was extremely funny – I loved what he did with the part, such a good contrast to the other pirates.

David Lodge was a rather restrained Captain Hook, he could have got away with being a lot more evil, as he wasn't always a wicked as he could have been.  David looked wonderful, but his costume was perhaps a little too perfect

Dave Simmonds as Boots/Smee worked really hard to try and get us to respond, I always like what Dave does, as he has such a lively face and really  keeps the action going.

Veronica Thompson and Paul Passi formed a very believable partnership as Mr & Mrs Darling.

The musical numbers were very suitable for the production, and nicely accomplished by the cast.  Pre-recorded music is fine for pantomime, and doesn't detract from anything else going on.

I loved the UV scene – the crab, and the jellyfish (I think it was) and the three sea snails, were worked really well by their handlers and created a very amusing and lively scene.  The mermaids were a little too static for the rest of the players, it would have been nice to have seen them moving a bit just to keep the magic going.

The laser light depicting Tinkerbell was nicely done, as was the flash and her appearance as an actual person – I thought that Monika Lorincova as the physical incarnation of Tink was perhaps a little too stern sometimes, I needed some light but wicked inflections and facial expressions, although it is a hard part to play and Monika tackled it with gusto.

I really liked Nerinne Trumen, Matthew Such, Rachel Parkins and Damien Winchester as the Lost Boys – they kept their characters going and were bright and lively.  There was some good choreography, which I understand was a contribution from Matthew, which I really liked.

Tayla Kenyon was a good Tiger Lily, very solemn but bright in her portrayal, which gave the part a lift, and her Braves were nicely played too.

The Twelve Days of Christmas always goes down well, and this was no exception, Marlon, Dave and Tayla worked their socks off and accomplished a very funny interlude, which the audience loved.

There were some excellent characterisations from some of the chorus members, which helped make it all look good, and I particularly liked Mark Randall, he used his face well and really got into the dance numbers.

So overall a most enjoyable pantomime, so well done everyone, and we’re looking forward to 2013, as the programme is looking very interesting.

Hemel Hempstead Theatre Company

PETER PAN”  date: Dec 2012

Boxmoor Playhouse

Directors:  Karina Bygate & Stewart Fairthorne

Choreographer: Julie Downs & Company


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