THE BOY WHO WOULDN’T GROW UP // peter pan christmas pantomime

Is it really even Christmas until you’ve been to the pantomime?

When I was growing up in NZ, I used to wonder what on earth panto was all about – it just seemed so bizarre, with its cheesy jokes, over-the-top characters and saucy one-liners.

When my eldest started middle school the PTA arranged a group booking, so I got tickets for me and the girls. I figured it’d be something I did once to tick off my bucket list, but we all fell completely in love with it. It was brilliantly bonkers – fun and loud and bawdy, breaking the ‘fourth wall’ by speaking directly to the audience, then ending with a water-gun fight. I’d never experienced anything like it!

It became our yearly tradition, marking the start of our Christmas celebrations. From that day on it was festive PJs and hot chocolate and Xmas movies galore.

This year we were thrilled to be invited to Peter Pan at the Wycombe Swan theatre, with an impressive cast of actors and entertainers, including Eastenders star Jake Wood in the dastardly role of Captain Hook, Benidorm’s Jake Canuso at suave pirate, Starkey, and West End star and former X-Factor contestant, Niki Evans as Mermaid.

For the next two hours we were immersed in the magical world of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. I was expecting great things, but was blown away by the professionalism of the cast and their incredible singing voices. The comedy was spot-on, poking fun at the stresses of the past two years in a traditional ‘the-show-must-go-on’ way.

There really was something for all ages – the kids loved the manic physical comedy, while the grown ups laughed at double entendres dotted all the way through. And everyone loved the magical flying scenes, when Peter Pan and Wendy dipped and swelled and soared over the stage.

Covid had scuppered the Swan’s panto plans the previous year, so there was a real sense of excitement when we entered the theatre. Straight away I was struck by the incredible sets and the stage production; it was bright and glittery and literally glowing with colour and instantly put us all in a good mood.

There were a few teething problems but the actors dealt with them all with humour and aplomb, and rather than detracting from the show it simply added to the charm.

Sleeping Beauty may have been sadly cancelled last year, but this year’s Peter Pan pantomime was worth waiting for.

  • we attended a press showing of Peter Pan

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