Review: Peter Pan, The Hawth Theatre

Hilary O'Neil (Mrs Darling), Emma Barton (Tinkerbell), Shaun Williamson (Captain Hook), Sam Lupton (Peter Pan), Michael J Batchelor (Mrs Smee). Picture by Paul Clapp
Hilary O'Neil (Mrs Darling), Emma Barton (Tinkerbell), Shaun Williamson (Captain Hook), Sam Lupton (Peter Pan), Michael J Batchelor (Mrs Smee). Picture by Paul Clapp

They've done it again.

Every year the Hawth and Evolution productions seem to promise their 'biggest and most spectacular pantomime ever'. And every year they manage to pull it off.

Shaun Williamson as Captain Hook. Picture by Paul Clapp

Shaun Williamson as Captain Hook. Picture by Paul Clapp

Following the huge success of Jack and the Beanstalk, the same creative team are back with a show packed with bags of audience participation and spectacular special effects.

Having seen a few panto productions of Peter Pan, I was sceptical. It never seems like a panto - unlike Sleeping Beauty, Cinderalla and Jack and the Beanstalk.

But they won me over with a witty script, plenty of panto staples, great banter with the audience and a hugely likeable cast.

Emma Barton delivers a refreshing take on Tinkerbell. Instead of the usual sickly sweet voice we have a fiesty Eastender. Shaun Williamson is (maybe unintentionally) really likeable as Captain Hook, but the crowd still gave him plenty of obligatory boos.

Richard David-Caine and Joseph Elliott were great fun as Starkey and Skylights while Michael J Batchelor (and his wardrobe) steals every scene as Mrs Smee.

And the talent doesn't stop there. Hilary O'Neil plays three parts (Mrs Darling,Myrtle and Squatting Cow) and it's as Myrtle the Mermaid she gets to showcase her talent as an impressionist. I don't think I have ever seen a Tess Daly impression before, but she nailed it. And as Squatting Cow she gets to do a few Breaking Wind jokes, and that's always funny.

Elizabeth Carter and and Sam Lupton as Wendy and Peter Pan make a nice pairing and share a lovely song together at the end.

But's it's the whole ensemble and the spectacular production (despite the geographically questionable London scene) that make this a great show for everyone. There's plenty of fun for the kids and a lot of laughs for the adults (Brexit, Trump, Pokemon and Honey G all get the treatment).

Don’t miss out - with tickets flying out the window, be sure to get them quick, the croc is ticking!

Peter Pan is on until Monday 2 January 2017.

For tickets telephone 01293 553636 (Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm)

Email: hawthboxoffice@parkwoodtheatres.co.uk

There is a Relaxed Performance on Friday 16 December, 10.30am - A specially designed performance that has been adapted to reduce anxiety and create a supportive atmosphere for people with autism spectrum conditions, learning disabilities and other sensory and communication disorders. If you would like to book tickets, please contact the Box Office on 01293 553636 or visit us.

Audio Described Performance - Saturday 17 December, 2pm & Wednesday 28 December, 5.30pm

British Sign Language Interpreted Performance (Signer: Sarah Granger) - Saturday 17 December, 2pm

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Go to www.crawleyobserver.co.uk/christmas/