Peter Pan at The Orchard Theatre
Christmas has come to Dartford! This year in the form of the pantomime Peter Pan starring Steve McFadden where the audience is transported swiftly to Neverland.
Peter Pan is a difficult pantomime to pull off as it lacks many of the traditional pantomime elements such as the Dame, a transformation scene, a love story and a wedding at the end. It was for these reasons that this pantomime felt a little lacking. They valiantly tried to add in a magical mermaid to help Smee out, but if adding in a character such as this…why not make them a Dame?
Due to the format of this pantomime it meant that most of the hard work was left to Andy Ford as Smee to get the children cheering, booing and laughing. Ford worked incredibly hard to get the audience on side but his presence was sorely missed from his inevitable lack of stage time in the first chunk of the show which played more like a Christmas show than a pantomime.
The spectacle created for this pantomime however was superb, the set shimmered, Peter Pan and Wendy flew over Dartford, fire shot up from the stage for the arrival in Neverland and the closing of Act 1 with the crocodile coming for Hook really brought the theatre to life and a sense of magic to the theatre.
I also enjoyed Iosbel Hathaway as Tinker Bell who skated around the stage with apparent ease. She easily convinced the audience that she was a petulant fairy . Equally Joe Sleight as Peter Pan dashed across the stage and fought with Hook brilliantly. He very much kept to the traditional Peter Pan stance which caused smiles of recognition whenever he reverted back to it.
The ‘star’ of the show was Steve McFadden however he failed to live up to the great panto villains and it was difficult to spot many children in the audience who was scared of him. Part of this is possibly down to the fact that most of his scenes were with Smee and therefore the focus was on getting the panto elements into the show as opposed to building up his villainous persona.
The pace of the show was set well and it was a good move to start the pantomime with the arrival of Peter Pan rather than a long pre-amble in the Darling household. This ensured that there was very little time with no real action. The choreography of the show by Barbara Evans was well executed and we saw numbers ranging from an impressive rhythmic number performed by Tiger Lily’s crew to a fun number atop the deck of the Jolly Roger. All of the ensemble and Babes performed well in a multitude of roles.
Peter Pan at the Orchard Theatre brought the magic of theatre to Dartford however this magic failed to translate into many of the pantomime elements and it was for that reason that the show failed to Hook me!
Peter Pan is on at The Orchard Theatre until 5th January 2020. To find out more about the show visit their website.